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Wars on Terrorism 
and Iraq 

Human rights, unilateralism, and 
U.S. foreign policy 

Edited by Thomas G Weiss, 
Margaret E. Crahan, and John Goering 

O Routledqe 

Also available as a printed book 

see title verso for ISBN details 

Wars on Terrorism and Iraq 

Wars on Terrorism and Iraq provides a timely and critical analysis of the impact on 
human rights, particular!) internationally, of the wars on terrorism and Iraq as 
well as examining the related tensions between unilateralism and multilateralism 
in U.S. foreign policy. 

The distinguished contributors examine the consequences for international 
relations and world order of the traditional standard-bearer for human rights and 
democracy, the United States, appearing not to be championing the rule of law 
and negotiated conflict resolution. The authors also suggest effective policies to 
promote greater fulfillment of human rights in order to achieve peaceful accord 
within nations and .lability internationally. 

Contributors include Man Robinson. Tom J. barer. Judith Lichtenberg, David 
P. Forsythe, Jack Donnelly, Kenneth Roth, Edward C. Luck, Mohammed 
Ayoob. Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, Jose E. Alvarez and Bruce D. Jones. 

Thomas G. Weiss is Presidential Professor of Political Science at The CUNY 
Graduate Center and Director of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International 
Studies, where he is co-director of the United Nations Intellectual History 

Project and editor of (•lnhal (iureniancc. 

Margaret E. Crahan is the Doroth\ Epstein Professor of Latin American 
History at Hunter College and The CUNY Graduate Center and a Senior 
Research Associate of the Institute of Latin American Studies at Columbia 


John Goering is a Professor at the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College 
and The CUNY Graduate Center. From 1997 to spring 1999 he served on the 
staff of the White House Initiative on Race. 

Wars on Terrorism 
and Iraq 

Human rights, unilateralism, and 
U.S. foreign policy 

Edited by Thomas G Weiss, 
Margaret E. Crahan, and John Goering 


IV Taylor Francis Group 

RoutUdge is an imprint of the Taylor & Fruuri\ < •nut/, 

This edition publi I in the Ta\l Fran Lihi > 

'.<-' _'IIU ! Selection and editorial matter, Thomas G. Weiss, Margaret E. ( lahan 

and John Goering; the chapters, the contributors 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or 
utilized in any form or by am eleetrmiie. mechanical. ' t other means, now 
known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in 
any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing 
from the publishers. 

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data 

Wars on terrorism and Iraq: human rights, unilateralism, and U.S. foreign 

policy/edited by Thomas G. Weiss. Margaret E. ( Irahau. and John Goering 

p. cm. 

It ti hide-, bibliographical references and index. 

1. War on Terrorism, 2001-2. United States-Relations-Iraq. 

3. Iraq- Relations United States. 4. United States Politics and 

govemment-2001- 5. Human rights. I. Weiss. Thomas George. II. Crahan, 

Margaret E. III. Goering, John, 1950- 

HV6432.W38 2004 

973.93 1— dc22 2003021057 

from the British Eibran 
ISBN 0-203-42104-3 Master e-book ISBN 

ISBN 203-68128-2 (Adobe eReader Format) 
ISBN 0-415-70062-0 (hbk) 
ISBN 0-415-70063-9 (pbk) 

In memory of those who gave their lives working for peace at 
United Nations Headquarters, Baghdad, Iraq, August 19, 2003 


Notes on contributors 

Foreword by Mary Robinson 


List of abbreviations 


The serendipity of war, human rights, and sovereignty: 
the case of the United States 



Framing the debate 

1 The interplay of domestic politics, human rights, and 
U.S. foreign policy 


2 Pre-emption and exceptionalism in U.S. foreign policy: 
precedent and example in the international arena 



Human rights and the war on terrorism 

3 U.S. foreign policy and human rights in an era of insecurity: 
the Bush administration and human rights after 
September 11 

4 International human rights: unintended consequences of 

the war on terrorism 98 


5 The fight against terrorism: the Bush administration's 
dangerous neglect of human rights 113 



U.S. unilateralism in the wake of Iraq 133 

6 Bush, Iraq, and the U.N.: whose idea was this anyway? 135 


7 The war against Iraq: normative and strategic 
implications 155 


8 The future of U.S. -European relations 174 


9 Legal unilateralism 1 88 


10 Tactical multilateralism: U.S. foreign policy and crisis 

management in the Middle East 209 


Whither human rights, unilateralism, and U.S. foreign 



Jose E. Alvarez is a Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. His principal 
areas of teaching are: international law, especially international organiza- 
tions; international tribunals; war crimes; international legal theory; and 
foreign investment. He is also a member of the Board of Editors of the Amer- 
ican Journal of International Law and of the Journal of International Criminal Justice, 
a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Vice-President of the 
American Society of International Law. Prior to teaching at Columbia he 
taught at the Georgetown Law Center, George Washington University 
National Law Center, and University of Michigan Law School. Before enter- 
ing academia he was an attorney adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser 
of the U.S. Department of State. 

Mohammed Ayoob is the University Distinguished Professor of International 
Relations at James Madison College, Michigan State University. A specialist 
on conflict and security in the Third World, he has taught at the Australian 
National University, the National University of Singapore, and Jawaharlal 
Nehru University, and he has held visiting appointments at Princeton, 
Oxford, Columbia, and Brown Universities. He has published in such journals 
as World Politics, Foreign Policy, Global Governance, and Survival. He has authored, 
coauthored, or edited eleven books, including The Third World Security Predica- 
ment: State Making, Regional Conflict, and the International System (1995). 

Margaret E. Crahan is the Dorothy Epstein Professor of Latin American 
History at Hunter College and The CUNY Graduate Center and a Senior 
Research Associate of the Institute of Latin American Studies at Columbia 
University. From 1982 to 1994 she was the Henry R. Luce Professor of Reli- 
gion, Power, and Political Process at Occidental College and from 1993 to 
1 994 the Marous Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. She currently 
serves on the boards of the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights and 
the Democracy Coalition Project of the Open Society Institute. She has done 
research in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Sal- 
vador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, 
Spain, Switzerland, and Uruguay on topics spanning the sixteenth through 
the twentieth centuries in Latin America. She is currently writing a book 

x Contributors 

about female political prisoners and strategies of resistance in Argentina dur- 
ing the 1976-83 military regime. Her books include Africa and the Caribbean: 
Legacies of a Link (1979), Human Rights and Basic Meeds in the Americas (1982), and 
The City and the World: New York's Global Future (1997). 

Jack Donnelly is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor and Associate Dean of the 
Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver, and in 
2002-3 the Gladstein Visiting Professor at the University of Connecticut. He 
previously taught at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, College 
of the Holy Cross, and Tulane University and at universities abroad. He 
specializes in human rights, international relations theory, international org- 
anization, political theory, and international law. He is the author of The 
Concept of Human Rights (1985), International Human Rights (1998), and Universal 
Human Rights in Theory and Practice (2002; 2nd edition). His most recent book is 
Realism and International Relations (2000) and he is currently writing a book on 
ancient Greek international society. 

Tom J. Farer is the Dean of the Graduate School of International Studies at 
the University of Denver. He is the former President of the Inter-American 
Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States and of 
the University of New Mexico. In 1993 he served as legal consultant to the 
United Nations Operations in Somalia. He has served as special assistant to 
the General Counsel of the Department of Defense, Assistant Secretary of 
State for Inter-American Affairs, and Senior Fellow of the Council on Foreign 
Relations and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. At present 
he serves on the boards of several human rights organizations, for which he 
conducts occasional investigatory missions abroad, and is on the editorial 
boards of the American Journal of International Law and the Human Rights Quarterly. 

David P. Forsythe is the Charles J. Ma ied Professor of Political 

Science, and University Professor, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 
He has held visiting professorships at universities in Denmark, Ireland, the 
Netherlands, and Switzerland and has been a consultant to the International 
Red Cross and to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for 
Refugees. He served as President of the Human Rights Committee of the 
International Political Science Association, Vice-President of the International 
Studies Association, and a member of the Committee on Scientific Freedom 
and Responsibility of the American Association for the Advancement of 
Science. His books include Human Rights in International Relations (2000), Human 
Rights and Comparative Foreign Policy (2000; edited), The United States and Human 
Rights (2000; edited), The United Nations and Changing World Politics, (2000; 3rd 
edition), and Human Rights and Diversity: Area Studies Revisited (currently in press). 

John Goering is a Professor at the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College 
and The CUNY Graduate Center. From 1997 to spring 1999 he served on 
the staff of the White House Initiative on Race. He has published articles 
and books on urban housing, and civil rights issues, including The Best Eight 

Contributors xi 

Blocks in Harlem (1979), Housing Desegregation and Federal Policy (1986), and Mort- 
gage Lending, Racial Discrimination, and Federal Policy (1996), and forthcoming is a 
coauthored work: Choosing a Better Life? Evaluating the Moving to Opportunity 
Experiment. He has served on the editorial boards of the Urban Affairs Review, 
New Community, Housing Studies, and the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. 

Bruce D. Jones is Deputy Director and Fellow at New York University's 
Center on International Cooperation. In 2000-2 he served as the Chief of 
Staff to the United Nations' Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace 
Process. He previously worked in the United Nations Office for the Coordi- 
nation of Humanitarian Affairs. He was a member of the U.N.'s Advance 
Mission in Kosovo and of the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Opera- 
tions' planning team for the U.N. Transitional Administration in East Timor. 
He earlier worked for a range of nongovernmental organizations involved in 
conflict response, particularly in central Africa, including CARE, Concilia- 
tion Resources, and International Alert. He is the author of Peacemaking in 
Rwanda: Vie Dynamics of Failure (2001). 

Judith Lichtenberg is a research scholar at the Institute for Philosophy and 
Public Policy and an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy, 
both at the University of Maryland at College Park. She is the editor of Dem- 
ocracy and the Mass Media (1990); coauthor of Getting a Leg Up: Justice and College 
Admissions (forthcoming); and author of many articles on international ethics, 
race and ethnicity, higher education, and the mass media. From 1997 to 
2002 she served on the national advisory board of the Poynter Institute. She 
currently directs the University of Maryland's Committee on Politics, Phil- 
osophy, and Public Policy, an interdisciplinary graduate program. 

Edward C. Luck is Director of the Center on International Organization 
and Professor of Practice in International and Public Affairs at Columbia 
University. Since 200 1 he has served as a member of the U.N. Secretary- 
General's Policy Working Group on the United Nations and Terrorism. A 
past President of the United Nations Association of the U.S.A. and a special- 
ist in Washington's policies toward the world organization, he is author of 
Mixed Messages: American Politics and Intern, lion, 1919-1999 (1999) 

and Reforming the United Nations: Lessons from a History in Progress (2003). 

Chantal de Jonge Oudraat is Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic 
Relations of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies 
of The Johns Hopkins University and Adjunct Professor at the Edmund A. 
Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. She is Vice- 
President and member of the Executive Board of Women in International 
Security and formerly was co-director of the Managing Global Issues project 
at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Senior Research 
Associate at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research; and 
researcher at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, 
Kennedy School, Harvard University. She is the co-editor of Managing Global 

Issues: Lessons Learned (2001) and the author of articles in journals such as 
Survival, Current History, Washington Quarterly, and the European Journal of Inter- 
national Laic. 

Mary Robinson is Executive Director of the Ethical Globalization Initiative. 
She was United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002) 
and President of Ireland (1990-7). Before being elected President, she served 
as a senator in the Irish Parliament for 20 years, during which time she also 
was Reid Professor of Constitutional Law at Trinity College, Dublin, and 
practiced before the Irish Bar. 

Kenneth Roth is the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, the largest 
U.S. -based international human rights organization that investigates, reports 
on, and seeks to curb human rights abuses in some 70 countries. From 1987 
to 1993 he served as Deputy Director of the organization. Previously, he was 
a Federal Prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District 
of New York and the Iran-Contra investigation in Washington. He has also 
worked in private practice as a litigator. He has conducted human rights 
investigations around the globe, devoting special attention to issues of justice 
and accountability for gross abuses of human rights, standards governing 
military conduct in time of war, the human rights policies of the United 
States and the United Nations, and the human rights responsibilities of 
multinational businesses. 

Thomas G. Weiss is Presidential Professor of Political Science at The CUNY 
Graduate Center and Director of the Ralph Bunche Institute for Inter- 
national Studies, where he is co-director of the United Nations Intellectual 
History Project and editor of Global Governance. He also was Research Profes- 
sor at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies, 
Executive Director of the Academic Council on the UN. System and of the 
International Peace Academy, a member of the U.N. secretariat, and a con- 
sultant to several public and private agencies. He has written or edited some 
30 books about multilateral approaches to international peace and security, 
humanitarian action, and sustainable development. 


Mary Robinson 

I write this Foreword in the sad aftermath of the tragic bombing of United 
Nations headquarters in Baghdad on August 19, 2003. It took the life of my 
friend and successor as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Sergio 
Vieira de Mello, and of at least 22 others, mainly U.N. colleagues. Among those 
killed was another friend, Arthur Helton, Senior Fellow for Refugee Studies at 
the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, who had told me only a week 
earlier that he was going to Iraq to meet Sergio and assess the refugee situation 

Will their deaths be the wake-up call that leads to a significant reconfigura- 
tion of the U.N. presence on the ground, with broad international military and 
police support for the establishment of basic human security throughout Iraq? 
This is an essential precondition for building a peaceful, stable, and — hope- 
fully — democratic country. It is vital to change the current perception of 
"occupying forces," which can be manipulated by those determined to sabotage 
any efforts at rebuilding the infrastructure and services of that country. 

By the time this book is published we may know if out of this bleak moment 
came the inspiration, energy, and political will to strengthen the U.N.'s mandate 
and fully internationalize the military presence in its support. The essays in this 
remarkable book, written from different perspectives and drawing on a wide 
range of scholarly and practical expertise, make a powerful case for such a mul- 
tilateral approach. The work is remarkable precisely because the contributors 
address with honesty and integrity the deeply difficult nexus among human 
rights standards, the war on terror, the insecurity in Iraq in the aftermath of the 
war, and U.S. attitudes toward multilateralism. 

Another truly unusual feature of these essays — which attests to the quality 
of the overall direction by Thomas G. Weiss, Margaret E. Crahan, and John 
Goering — is that the work was planned many months before the terrible attacks 
of September 1 1, 2001, and had to adapt as a work in progress to events that 
literally changed our world. The initial task, that of appreciating U.S. power in 
relation to international normative standards, was gradually subsumed into a 
vastly more complex task. It successfully assesses the war on terrorism, including 
the war in Afghanistan and its aftermath. It also probes the subsequent regime 
change brought about by the military invasion of Iraq by coalition forces, along 

xiv Foreword 

with the implications for the effectiveness of the United Nations and its core 
moral values expressed in human rights. Fortunately, that initial task has also 
been addressed by John Shattuck, in his book Freedom on Fire, 1 which is an excel- 
lent companion to these essays, drawing as it does on his personal experience 
on the front lines in the Clinton administration as Assistant Secretary of State 
for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. 

The editors of this collection managed the transformation of the work by 
organizing a year-long sequence of seminars and public events focusing on the 
issues of war, rights, and U.S. foreign policy. A complex range of questions, and 
sometimes even contradictory sets of issues, are raised; and not all of them can 
be answered until more of the dust settles, in the region and in Washington. In 
a constantly changing foreign policy environment, it may be too soon to find 
clear, unequivocal assessments of the human rights benefits and costs of the war 
on terrorism. For example, may it have been a strategic error to characterize 
the attacks of September 1 1 as requiring a "war on terrorism" rather than as 
"crimes against humanity" that required intense international military, police, 
and intelligence cooperation to bring the perpetrators to justice? 

Language is crucial in shaping our reactions to critical events. The words 
that we use to characterize the event may determine the nature of the response. 
In my view, the tragic attacks on the World Trade Center and on the Pentagon 
fell within the definition under international human rights jurisprudence of 
"crimes against humanity," which would have been a more effective rubric 
under which to organize the fight. 

International cooperation and resolve are required under international 
human rights law to combat such crimes. Within this model are such actions as 
the adoption by the Security Council of Resolution 1373 that imposed a new 
international legal obligation on states to cooperate against terrorism, and the 
subsequent establishment of the Counter-Terrorism Committee to monitor 
implementation. Also within this approach to deal with crimes against humanity 
is the necessity of the war in Afghanistan because the Taliban had persistently 
refused to hand over Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, who claimed to be 
responsible for these crimes. 

That the language of being "at war with terrorism" was used from the begin- 
ning had direct, and nefarious, implications. It brought a subtle — or not so 
subtle — change of emphasis in many parts of the world: order and security 
became priorities that trumped all other concerns. As was often the case in the 
past during times of war, the emphasis on national order and security frequently 
involved curtailment of democracy and human rights. An honest debate about 
the costs and benefits has not yet really taken place. Abrogations in the United 
States, where there are many checks and balances in the wider society, have 
been copied with very negative effects for human rights in many countries of the 
world, as this book so persuasively illustrates. Questions arise as to when, if ever, 
this war on terrorism will be won. Are we, as the novelist and commentator 
Gore Vidal has characterized it, embarked on a Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace? 2 

Another issue that troubles me deeply and has not yet received adequate 

Foreword xv 

analysis: has casting the post-September 1 1 challenge as a war on terrorism, 
paradoxically, inflated the perceived status and self-esteem of the terrorists 
themselves? Whereas being branded as terrible criminals who committed crimes 
against humanity would make it impossible to invoke a religious justification for 
such acts, the question arises as to whether being at war — as it would be per- 
ceived — against the "great Satan" allows a manipulation by religious extremists 
so that it amounts to a war for a religious cause. As such, and as painful as it 
may be to ask the question, we need to do so: has the recruitment of impres- 
sionable, unemployed youths not been facilitated? 

While it is impossible at this stage to know for how long the so-called war on 
terrorism may have to continue, its negative impact on international human 
rights standards worldwide is already evident. The erosion of civil liberties in 
the United States itself — the standard-bearer for civil and political rights — has 
been monitored and criticized by various human rights groups, a troubling 
theme running through these essays. A recent report by the Lawyers Committee 
for Human Rights makes sobering reading.' 5 

The report highlights a pattern of actions by the administration of President 
George W Bush since September 2001 that is at odds with core U.S. and inter- 
ples. Central among them is the idea of checks and 
balances — the long U.S. tradition of separation of powers among the executive, 
judicial, and legislative branches of government. The Lawyers Committee pro- 
vides numerous examples of how these safeguards are being undermined by 
aggressive executive branch actions that are usurping the constitutional powers 
of the federal courts and Congress. 

The report focuses, for example, on the erosion of the right to privacy. There 
have been a series of initiatives by the executive branch over just the previous 
six months to collect an unprecedented amount of information on U.S. citizens 
and non-citizens who are under no suspicion of having committed a crime. 
These include the military's proposed Total Information Awareness Program, 
which would create comprehensive data profiles of everyone in the country; the 
use of expanded search and seizure powers under the U.S.A. Patriot Act to 
seize library, bookstore, and other records; increased powers to intercept tele- 
phone and Internet communications; and the lifting of restrictions on the use of 
special foreign intelligence powers in ordinary criminal prosecutions. 

The international effects on civil liberties are equally troubling. Many of us, 
including several contributors to this volume, are very concerned with the pre- 
cedents set by the country that has long championed human rights: increasingly 
harsh treatment of immigrants, refugees, and minorities, such as monitoring, 
registration, detention, and secret deportation of immigrants against whom no 
charges have been made; restrictions on visitors and immigrants alike from 
many parts of the world; and a reversal of the United States' traditional 
welcome to refugees fleeing persecution abroad. 

The international repercussions of the changes in U.S. policy and practice 
should not be ignored. Repressive new laws and detention practices have been 
introduced in a significant number of countries, all broadly justified by the new 

xvi Foreword 

international war on terrorism. The report states it bluntly: "In lowering its own 
human rights standards, the United States has encouraged other governments, 
though often inadvertently, to lower the standards of human rights around the 

This is a country rightly proud of its checks and balances. A vital check is an 
informed and alert public willing to exercise "eternal vigilance" in protection of 
its democratic values. In that respect, this book is a timely publication that pro- 
vides rigorous analyses to reinforce those checks. 

The range and depth of issues dealt with by the distinguished contributors, 
who represent the best of scholarship and ad\ ocacy, are well summarized by the 
editors in their introduction and conclusion. If I had the power to do so, I 
would make this book compulsory reading for all who exercise political power 
in our world today! Instead, I will keep my fingers crossed that it will be read by 
as many members of Congress and of the current U.S. administration as possi- 
ble, and by a wide cross-section of policy analysts, diplomats, academics, and 
human rights defenders. 

At a time when, in every region of the world, individuals and civil society are 
relying increasingly on the international human rights framework to hold their 
governments accountable, it is more vital than ever to move from U.S. excep- 
tionalism back to the kind of leadership on human rights exemplified by 
Eleanor Roosevelt when she chaired the Commission on Human Rights that 
drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted in 
1948. These essays provide a rich resource to support a broad debate about 
U.S. "exceptionalism." We may be encouraged by some recent judgments of 
the U.S. Federal Supreme Court, such as the passage from Justice Anthony 
M. Kennedy in Lawrence v. State of Texas, where he cited judgments of the Euro- 
pean Court of Human Rights and concluded: 

The right the petitioners seek in this case has been accepted as an integral 
part of human freedom in many other countries. There has been no 
showing that in this country the governmental interest in circumscribing 
personal choice is somehow more legitimate or urgent. 4 

This century began with the commitments made by governments in the Millen- 
nium Declaration, 5 which were grounded in respect for international law — 
including international human rights law — and the values of multilateralism. I 
believe that it is possible to reconcile the understandable preoccupation with 
security and the war on terrorism which followed the terrible attacks of Septem- 
ber 1 1 , on the one hand, with giving priority to achieving the millennium 
development goals and addressing human security in a deeper and more holistic 
way, on the other hand. The groundwork has been laid particularly by three 
recent reports: The U.N. Human Development Report of 2000 and of 2003, which 
call for mainstreaming human rights and for implementing a compact among 
nations to end poverty, and the Commission on Human Security's report, 
Human Security Now, which focuses on protecting and empowering people. 6 

Foreword xvii 

We need to build a broad international consensus around the idea of con- 
necting human rights, human development, and human security. To balance 
the sense of anxiety, fear, and foreboding resulting from the wars on terrorism 
and Iraq, we need a mood of hope. I find inspiration from Seamus Heaney's 
"Chorus: The Cure at Troy'": 

History says, Don't hope 
On this side of the grave, 
But then, once in a lifetime 
The longed for tidal wave 

And hope and history rhyme. 

Mary Robinson 
New York, September 2003 


1 John Shattuck, Freedom on Fire: Human Rights Wars and America's Response (Cambridge, 
MA: Harvard University Press, 2003). 

2 Gore Vidal, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace (New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 

3 Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, "Imbalance of Powers: How Changes to 
U.S. Law and Policy Since 9/11 Erode Human Rights and Civil Liberties," http:// 

4 John Geddes Lawrence and Tvron Garner, Petitioners v. Texas, 539 U.S. (2003), 
p. 16. 

3 "Millennium Declaration" available at 

6 UNDP, Human Development Report 2000: Human Rights and Human Development (Oxford: 
Oxford University Press, 2000); idem, Human Development Report 2003: Deepening f>< illite- 
racy in a Divided World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000); and Commission on 
Human Security, Unman Security Now (New York: Commission on Human Security. 

7 In Seamus lleanev. The Cure til Tiny: A ]'ersion <</' Sti/i/tne/es' Philnetetes (New York: 
Noonday Press, 1991). 


Thomas G Weiss, Margaret E. Crahan, 
and John Goering 

The chapters in this volume are one of the products of a year-long faculty 
seminar and public forums, held during the academic year 2002-3, sponsored by 
the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies and the Center for Human- 
ities at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York. The Andrew 
W. Mellon Foundation and its Vice-President Harriet Zuckerman were support- 
ive of this intellectual undertaking and generous in funding the project. 

New York has proven to be an ideal, if scarred, location to convene a discus- 
sion of the impact of the wars on terrorism and Iraq on issues of human and 
civil rights. We began our seminars in September 2002, almost exactly a year 
after the tragic events of September 11, 2001. The issue of terrorism was con- 
currently on the international, national, and local (New York City) agendas. 
The war in Iraq was raging during the final sessions of the series after difficult 
debates in the United Nations Security Council. Current events had a very 
direct impact on our discussions. 

As a result, the conceptualization and focuses of the seminar evolved over 
time. Our initial overarching theme was the interaction of U.S. policy on state 
sovereignty and its impact on the enjoyment of human rights both in this 
country and abroad. As part of the basis for our discussion, we used a definition 
of human rights common in the national and international human rights com- 
munities: that human rights are inherent claims by individuals and groups on 
states and societies for life with dignity, including the complete and complex 
range of political, civil, ethnic, social, economic, cultural, intellectual, and reli- 
gious rights. 

Given the subject's inherent breadth, coupled with our desire to engage in 
intensive analysis and debate, we focused the seminar on three major case 
studies or issue areas that helped illustrate and reveal the complex interactions 
of factors shaping the tensions between war, rights, and the dynamics of state 
sovereignty. The three topics were: the impact of the war on terrorism on 
human rights both in the U.S. and around the world; the relevance of U.N. 
activities on the subject of race, including the 2001 U.N. World Conference 
against Racism, to U.S. domestic and foreign policy; and the impact of U.S. 
unilateralism since the end of the Cold War on this nation's foreign policy, with 
particular attention devoted to the Middle East and surrounding regions. The 

xx Preface 

first and the third emphases are clearly intertwined and provide the focus for 
this book. Challenging the notion that national security and a strong human 
rights posture are not complementary, the Sawyer Seminar concluded that they 
are, in fact, mutually supportive. Indeed, the analyses presented during the 
course of the seminar repeatedly stressed that national security was more likely 
to be guaranteed by a strong rather than by an enfeebled commitment to 
human rights domestically and abroad. We are most grateful to the ten contrib- 
utors to this collection for their timely, incisive, and provocative chapters 
analyzing the complexities of their topics with a view toward suggesting effective 
security and rights policies. Their profiles are found at the front of the volume. 
We are also extremely gratified that Mary Robinson, the former President of 
Ireland and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights who now heads the 
Ethical Globalization Initiative, agreed to enhance this book with her Foreword. 

We would be remiss if we did not mention that a number of other papers 
were also presented and provided intellectual grist for the mill, which we have 
been unable to include in this collection. Many of the ideas and criticisms of 
seminar participants and discussants have also found their way into the chapters 
or into the Introduction and Conclusion. In particular, the authors and editors 
benefited from the wisdom of Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, Marcellus Andrews, Pen- 
elope Andrews, Zehra Arat, Beth Baron, Anne Bayefsky, Ann Beeson, Mehdi 
Bozorgmehr, Rhonda Copelon, Julie Fernandes, Paul Heinbecker, Tracy Higgins, 
James O.C. Jonah, David Malone, Gay J. McDougall, William L. Nash, Gian- 
domenico Picco, Michael Posner, John A. Powell, Anthony C.E. Quainton, 
Barnett Rubin, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Domna Stanton, Andre M. Surena, 
Yvonne Terlingen, Shashi Tharoor, J. Michael Turner, and Marta Varela. 

We would also like to express our appreciation to a number of persons who 
were essential to the creation of this volume. David Nasaw, distinguished Pro- 
fessor of History at The Graduate Center, provided considerable intellectual 
advice and assistance in the initial formulation of this project. Our colleague 
from Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center, Mark Ungar, provided intel- 
lectual firepower to the undertaking, and helpful comments in framing the 
volume. Mirna Adjami, a Mellon postgraduate fellow, acted as rapporteur for 
the workshop; her diligence and insights about international human rights were 
very helpful in drafting the Introduction and Conclusion. She was a wonderful 
colleague during the year she spent in New York extracting lessons from her 
previous experience in the Congo and in pursuing research on universal juris- 
diction. Maria Victoria Perez-Rios, a Mellon graduate student fellow working 
on human rights, provided research assistance. Elisa Athonvarangkul cheerfully 
helped prepare the final manuscript. Nancy Okada, the Administrative Director 
of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, contributed good 
humor and problem-solving skills in overseeing the administrative details of the 
workshop. We are also most grateful to Danielle Zach for having shouldered a 
lion's share of the administration of the Sawyer Seminar Series itself and for her 
attention to every detail of fact-checking and editorial assistance during the 
preparation of the final manuscript. She is a most promising graduate student in 

Preface xxi 

comparative politics and international relations, who was a Mellon Fellow for 
two academic years. Neither the series nor this volume would have had the 
same professional tone and quality without her able assistance. 

Finally we thank die iaeultx members, students, and other participants in the 
seminars and public forums whose interests, fears, questions, and thoughts kept 
alive our concern for new policy insights. 

Thomas G. Weiss. Margaret F. Crahan, and John Goering 
New York, September 2003 



acquired immune deficiency syndrome 


Commission on Human Rights 


European Security and Defense Policy 


European Union 


gross domestic product 


Group of Eight 


International Criminal Court 


International Court of Justice 


International Committee of the Red Cross 


North American Free Trade Agreement 


North Atlantic Treaty Organization 


nongovernmental organization 


zation for Security and Cooperation in Europe 


prisoner of war 


United Kingdom 


United Nations 


United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan 


United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization 


United Nati ; Verification, and Inspection 



United States 


Western European Union 


weapons of mass destruction 


World Trade Organ 


The serendipity of war, human 
rights, and sovereignty 

The case of the United States 

Thomas G Weiss, Margaret E. Crahan, 
and John Goering 

The wars on terrorism and Iraq currently dominate public policy debates in the 
U.S. and abroad, often reflecting deeply held political and ideological beliefs. 
In-depth analyses of these issues are much less common. This book aims to fill 
that gap by analyzing the impact of the wars on terrorism and Iraq on the 
enjoyment of human rights both nationally and internationally, as well as on the 
historical competition between unilateralism and multilateralism in U.S. foreign 
policy. We should state at the outset that this approach does not imply that 
security or human rights specialists "should focus their attention exclusively on 
the terrorist threat." 1 Rather, our purpose is to identify factors that should be 
incorporated into the formulation of policies to respond effectively to the chal- 
lenges of these wars in both the short and long term. 

Our analytic point of departure is the seeming, and much hoped-for-growth 
of a worldwide commitment to the enjoyment of human rights in ensuring 
national and international security. 

One of the core worries that prompts this volume is whether such rights are 
sufficiently entrenched that their defense will not — indeed cannot — be under- 
mined by the demand for security in the wars against terrorism and in Iraq. In 
the 1970s there was debate over the supposed competition between the prereq- 
uisites for national security and human rights. By the 1990s there appeared to 
be substantial international consensus, clearly expressed in the upsurge of multi- 
lateral humanitarian interventions, that the observance of human rights was one 
of the prime guarantees of greater national and international security. 

Will human rights ever be entrenched firmly enough to act as fundamental 
guides to the interests and choices of hegemonic powers? Does an effective war 
on terrorism require that human rights observance be restricted in fundamental 
ways, or is there an essential relationship between a high degree of respect for 
human rights and the prevention of terrorism? In short, what sort of balance is 
required for effective counter-terrorism policies if respect for human rights is, as 
international consensus seems to suggest, a prime means of reducing the sources 
of terrorism? 

Since September 11, 2001, it has become clear that responding to the 
demands of national and international security and those of human rights pro- 
motion requires a significant rethinking of both policies and strategies. 2 This is 

4 Thomas G. Weiss, Margaret E. Crahan, and John Goering 

evident in the growing preoccupation with the impact on human rights of mea- 
sures adopted to combat terrorism in the U.S. and elsewhere. 3 The 
U.S.A. Patriot Act, the detention of immigrants without charges, together with 
the designation of the Guantanamo detainees as "non-combatants," rather than 
"prisoners of war" under the Geneva Conventions, have raised doubts about 
the capacity of the U.S. to promote human and civil rights while fighting terror- 
ism. Given that the legitimacy of the U.S. government both at home and 
abroad is deeply rooted in its historical support of democracy and human 
rights, the answers to the above questions help determine the capacity of the 
United States to exert moral as well as military leadership on the world stage. 

U.S. international leadership is tied to the degree to which other c 
recognize the remaining superpower as acting not only in its c 
also on behalf of broader ones. Serious questions have been raised even by 
long-standing allies about the effect of unilateralist tendencies in U.S. foreign 
policy as Washington has focused almost exclusively on the wars on terrorism 
and Iraq. There has been passionate disagreement about whether Washington's 
leadership required a prcdoinmanth multilateral approach to foreign policy or 
if, by virtue of its superpower status and the demands of the war on terrorism, it 
was reasonable to expect and accept U.S. unilateralism. While a good number 
of commentators have cast U.S. foreign policy, particularly since September 1 1, 
as essentially unilateral, several of the authors in this volume suggest that 
George W. Bush's administration has demonstrated as much multilateralism as 
previous ones, including Bill Clinton's. In addition, U.S. policy with respect to 
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is further argued, was more unilateral under 
Clinton than under the current administration. In short, this book challenges 
some of the conventional wisdom about the impact of the wars on terrorism 
and Iraq on U.S. foreign and human rights policies, on its bilateral and multi- 
lateral relations, as well as its role within the United Nations. 

The debate over the weight of national se< unt\ in U.S. foreign policy versus 
the demands of international human rights is hardly new. However, the inter- 
national context imposes pressure on Washington's policy-makers to devise 
effective ways to combat terrorism while ensuring that the United States main- 
tains a firm enough commitment to human rights to legitimize its world 
leadership. The contributors to this volume do a great deal to clarify the basis 
for sustaining national and international security within a viable rights context. 
As the United Nations Charter maintained in 1945, broad-based respect for 
human rights is the best guarantee of international peace and security. 

In planning this volume, the editors started with a simpler problematic: we 
sought to uncover, with the aid of some of the world's leading analysts, a deeper 
understanding of the linkages between the pressures on governments to ensure 
their sovereign independence and the inexorably growing pressures — albeit with 
some backsliding during periods of stress as at present — for greater enjoyment 
of human rights. More precisely, we sought to understand better the require- 
ments of sovereignty in today's world given human rights claims. We hoped to 
address, in part, the difficulty of advancing international human rights while the 

The serendipity of war, human rights, and sovereignty 5 

U.S. continues to maintain a fairly traditional definition of its sovereign indep- 
endence. As one of our contributors, Edward C. Luck, noted elsewhere, 
"international law and organization have been expected to express, embody, 
and extend the American dream, not to challenge or modify it." 4 We also 
aimed to learn whether or not human rights requires a priori the rejection of any 
political justification for the denial of human rights, including war. 

Our planning began nearly a year before September 1 1 , 200 1 . That tragedy, 
and the subsequent unfolding war against terrorism, quickly formed a politically 
and analytically indispensable focus for the issues at the core of this volume. An 
already challenging task of evaluating U.S. power in relation to international 
normative standards was made vastly more complex, and difficult. How has the 
war on terrorism and the ongoing struggle in Iraq reshaped our appreciation of 
the core values expressed in human rights? Is it true, as some argue, that the 
U.S. has deeply undercut its capacity for international leadership because of its 
unwillingness to enforce relevant rights protections for those imprisoned at 
Guantanamo? 5 And what does U.S. action portend for multilateral institutions 
such as the United Nations? Has Washington, as suggested by many — including 
Anne-Marie Slaughter, the President of the American Society of International 
Law — rung the death knell for the world organization? 6 In the aftermath of the 
Security Council debate over the Iraq war, David Malone, President of the 
International Peace Academy, commented: "The Security Council has probably 
been fatally wounded in terms of its centrality to the U.S. on the use of force 
around the world . . . The diplomats of Turtle Bay . . . don't fully comprehend 
the extent of the train wreck in which the Security Council has been involved." 7 
Are such assessments valid? 

As will become clear, there is nothing straightforward about the answers to 
any of these questions. Mary Robinson, the former U.N. High Commissioner 
for Human Rights whose Foreword opens this volume, recently commented: "It 
is both in the national interest of the United States and in our collective interest 
to defend, strengthen, and yes, reform, the multilateral system in which we have 
invested so much so that it can meet the challenges of the twenty-first century." 8 
What policies appear most central to enabling the U.S. and the U.N. and its 
treaty bodies to work together to meet the intertwined challenges of terrorism 
and needs for human rights protection? How can human security and human 
rights be best linked? Does war inevitably displace the human rights deemed by 
the U.N. Charter to be essential for international peace and security? Does a 
more unilateralist set of policies rather than multilateralism best ensure security? 
What policies and reforms, if any, appear germane as we assess the human 
rights benefits and costs of the war on terrorism? 

The editors of this collection conceived a year-long sequence of seminars and 
public events at which the issues of war, rights, and U.S. foreign policy were the 
centerpieces. Initially, these broad themes were to be explored through a focus 
on the war on terrorism; U.S. Middle East policy, especially regarding Israel 
and Palestine; and the impact of race on U.S. foreign policy, particularly per- 
taining to the debate on reparations and the U.N. World Conference against 

6 Thomas G. Weiss, Margaret E. Crahan, and John Goering 

Racism. (The latter subject, while treated during the series, was not included in 
this collection. 9 ) We chose, moreover, to address a wide range of political, social, 
cultural, and philosophical positions in order to maximize the likelihood of tran- 
scending narrow, partisan analyses in favor of broader, more innovative 
approaches. To this end, we assembled contributors with a variety of views, 
sometimes at odds. 

During the planning of the seminar itself, the United States invaded 
Afghanistan and overthrew the Taliban regime, which had harbored Al Qaeda 
— the perpetrators of the tragic attacks of September 1 1 . The Bush administra- 
tion did so with the genuine support of the United Nations and widespread 
international sympathy. At home, the administration instituted intelligence and 
law enforcement policies and procedures with the goal of preventing further ter- 
rorist activity and prosecuting those suspected of planning, abetting, or 
undertaking it. As our series began in the fall of 2002, it became clear that the 
U.S. was opening a third front in its war on terrorism, namely against the 
regime of Saddam Hussein. So, during the planning and actual conduct of our 
deliberations, the interactions among the wars on terrorism and Iraq, human 
rights, sovereignty, and unilateralism versus multilateralism were real and not 
merely academic concerns. 

To better appreciate the complexity of the issues, it would be useful to con- 
sider some of the challenges that we faced in framing the discussions. It has now 
become commonplace to read criticisms of the current administration for 
"undermining civil liberties." 10 For instance, an investigation by the Office of 
the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Justice concluded that there 
had been "glaring errors" committed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation 
(FBI) and the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) in the treatment of 
those detained after September 11, 2001. n Such analyses occurred well after 
Congress had granted the executive branch sweeping new powers aimed at 
curbing terrorism; authority that now appears to constrain, if not erode, civil 
liberties. The withholding of information from the press, researchers, and even 
from defendants has become part of the difficulty associated with learning what 
specific threats are most imminent, where or to whom, and in evaluating what 
price citizens should be expected to pay to confront them. This problem again 
manifested itself when the White House refused to declassify sections of the 
Joint Congressional Inquiry into the September 1 1 attacks chaired by Senator 
Bob Graham and Representative Porter Goss. 12 

There is, therefore, need for thoughtful assessments of the possibility that 
U.S. citizens may lose important — even ostensibly inalienable — rights in the 
effort to protect the country against current and potential threats. The essays in 
this book are an important step toward understanding the interactions of threats 
and rights. Each of the contributors draws upon years of experience in analyz- 
ing effective policies for responding to threats to the peace and the best 
mechanisms by which to implement them, including the U.N. and international 
human rights system. 

This collection therefore includes analyses of the war or terrorism followed 

The serendipity of war, human rights, and sovereignty 1 

by an in-depth look at the consequences of the war in Iraq and the ongoing 
conflict in the Middle East. The views reflect judgments from practitioners with 
experience in governmental, intergovernmental, and nongovernmental organi- 
zations (NGOs), as well as from academia. All of the authors are U.S. citizens 
or residents, who explore the consequences of the failure of the United States, a 
historical advocate of human rights, to conform to international law in the 
name of combating terrorism. Each strives both to find effective means for 
appreciating the need for new policies and actions, and to point toward alterna- 
tives that might help promote a more stable international order. Among the 
central themes is the uniqueness of the current moment in terms of U.S. power 
and policies, with several authors seeing signs of both continuity and change in 
the current administration. 

At the same time, most of the contributors are concerned about the spill-over 
from Washington's rhetoric and actions. First, there are the worldwide negative 
reactions to perceived U.S. arrogance in ignoring both enemies and allies and 
"going it alone." 13 Second, there are possible demonstration effects. As U.N. 
Secretary-General Kofi Annan said recently: "We are concerned that, under the 
guise of terrorism, governments all around the world are using the T word — 
and tagging people with it — to abuse their rights and lock them up in jail and to 
deal with political opposition. We are seeing an erosion in respect for human 
rights, which is of concern to all of us." 14 

Before providing an overview of the issues raised in the chapters by individ- 
ual authors, it would be helpful to recall key elements of the current human 
rights situation. The following section also introduces shifts in the conceptual- 
ization of sovereignty in the modern world. Both of these topics provided a 
backdrop for subsequent analyses. 

The human rights battlefield 

Human rights were among the more powerful ideas to emerge from the U.N. 
Charter — along with peace, national self-determination, and development. 
After the drafting and adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 
in 1948, to which all the countries of the world subscribe, at least rhetorically, 
the modern international human rights system developed slowly within the con- 
straints of the Cold War. While there remains much to celebrate about the 
Universal Declaration and collateral human rights treaties, there have also been 
substantial complications in managing the political organization of such inter- 
national obligations. 

Within the UN., until the 1980s, the issue of human rights was essentially an 
ideological football, kicked back and forth in a match between West and East. 
Western players prioritized political and civil rights, and their Eastern counter- 
parts (usually backed up by southern reserves) economic and social rights. The 
divide was part of Cold War competition, which left little room for the possi- 
bility of joint promotion. 

Although change was perceptible earlier, it was only as the Cold War was 

8 Thomas G. Weiss, Margaret E. Crahan, and John Goering 

beginning to thaw that groups concerned with the rights of women, children, 
refugees, and minorities really entered the match, thus altering the game and 
playing field in a major way. Since the mid-1980s there has been a surge in offi- 
cial ratifications of human rights conventions. Almost a hundred countries, over 
half the U.N. member states, have now ratified all six major human rights 
instruments, and about three-quarters have ratified the covenants on civil and 
political rights and on economic, social, and cultural rights. Over 80 percent of 
countries have ratified the conventions on the elimination of all forms of racial 
discrimination and of all forms of discrimination against women. All but two 
countries (Somalia and the United States) have ratified the Convention on the 
Rights of the Child. 15 

Various monitoring and implementing mechanisms evolved under the U.N.'s 
umbrella, including such agencies as the World Food Programme (WFP), the 
U.N. High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Health Organiza- 
tion (WHO), and UNICEF (U.N. Children's Fund), as well as others assigned to 
both the General Assembly and to the Security Council. Central to the evolu- 
tion of a worldwide consensus on rights has been the generation of treaties, and 
affiliated agencies, with specific human rights staffs and obligations. These 
include agreements to end, for example, racism, torture, and the abuse of 
women, and to protect children. International norms have thus, over the last 
half-century, become enshrined in a wide range of legally binding international 
human rights instruments. 16 

In 1994 the United States ratified the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 
and in 1996 the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It 
was not, however, until the end of 2000 that the U.S. submitted to the UN. its 
first official report addressing the state of race relations and civil rights law 
enforcement within the United States. Such tardy compliance stems partly from 
a disinclination by the Senate to ratify treaties that imply any conditioning of 
sovereign autonomy, reinforced by mistrust of the United Nations on the part of 
some members of Congress. 

Nevertheless, a wide range of international norms have been enshrined in 
legally binding international human rights instruments, and in a growing web of 
customary international law. Protections were established by treaty for those 
subjected to torture, for victims of racial discrimination, for children, and for 
women. As neither the United States nor the Soviet Union deferred fully to this 
system during the Cold War, the protection of human rights remained more 
nominal than actual. The sovereign prerogatives of the superpowers trumped 
rights enforcement, with the U.N. system accepting non-compliance on many 
occasions. 17 

The end of the Cold War and the elimination of the most serious security 
threat to the United States abruptly raised expectations that human rights and 
humanitarian concerns would take center stage in the conduct of international 
relations. This volume's essays pick up the story in the 1990s when rights 
became more visible within international forums. 

The serendipity of war, human rights, and sovereignly 9 

The evolution of sovereignty in the 1990s 

The key U.N. Charter article relating to national sovereignty is 2 (7), which 
holds, "Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United 
Nations to intervene in matters that are essentially within the domestic jurisdic- 
tion of any state." Major powers, including the United States, along with the 
least influential states, have at times relied upon this provision to argue that 
international norms do not necessarily constrain national prerogatives. While 
the United States has always championed civil and political rights, at least as 
broad principles, it has also demonstrated a fundamental ambivalence toward 
international constraints on its freedom of action. The long history of U.S. 
ambiguity, even antipathy, toward international obligations and commitments 
dates back to the Founding Fathers' deep unease about foreign entanglements, 
as much as a strong inclination toward a defense of sovereignty. 

The first Gulf war in 1991 suggested the dawn of a more effective multilat- 
eral system in the service of enforcing international law, further raising hopes 
that human rights would emerge as a core foreign policy priority. The 1990s, 
however, did not fully realize their initial promise. After an ill-fated mission in 
Somalia (1993), the United States retreated from global leadership on humani- 
tarian issues. The wars in the Balkans flared with uncertain responses from the 
United Nations, Europe, and the United States. A low point came with the 
international failure to prevent the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. The U.N.'s 
incapacity to intervene dampened expectations for a more effective era of 
human righ larian intervention. 

The 1990s nonetheless witnessed a dramatic transformation in the wide- 
spread view that the U.N. Charter is a Westphalian document par excellence, that 
is, what transpires within the borders of one sovereign state is not the concern 
of persons, institutions, and states elsewhere. The U.N.'s constitution prohibits 
intrusions into the domestic affairs of member states, but what is considered 
"domestic" has shrunk. In particular, humanitarian and human rights interven- 
tions of the 1 990s transformed the debate, which was captured by the Inter- 
national Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS). Its 
position, as stated in The Responsibility to Protect, moves away from the rights of 
interveners toward the rights of victims and the obligations of outsiders to act. 18 
The ICISS essentially endorses what Francis M. Deng, the U.N. Secretary- 
General's special representative for internally displaced persons, calls "sover- 
eignty as responsibility" 19 It is primarily state authorities whose citizens are 
threatened that have "the responsibility to protect." Yet a residual responsibility 
rests with the larger community of states when an aberrant member of their 
chili misbehaves egregiously or simply implodes. 

The acute suffering in such failed or failing states as Somalia, the former 
Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Haiti, and East Timor opened the door to international 
scrutiny of domestic policies that had led to genocide, massive displacements, 
and gross abuses of human rights. Such abuses within states are now con- 
sidered by many to be legitimate "international" concerns. Moreover, the last 

1 Thomas G. Weiss, Margaret E. Crahan, and John Goering 

two secretaries-general of the United Nations have actively supported the artic- 
ulation of a fast-evolving human rights regime, with support from the High 
Commissioner for Human Rights. That the heads of an intergovernmental 
organization have publicly taken such stances against their member states is 
remarkable. Such positions reflect those of major internationally focused human 
rights NGOs, including Amnesty International, the International Human Rights 
Law Group, Human Rights Watch, and the Lawyers Committee for Human 

The administration of William Jefferson Clinton accepted human rights as 
an element of its foreign policy. It raised human rights concerns in its bilateral 
relations with several countries and acknowledged the link both between human 
rights and democracy and with national and international stability. It partici- 
pated actively in multilateral conferences convened by the United Nations that 
addressed human rights concerns, such as the Vienna Summit on Human 
Rights in 1993, the Beijing Conference on Women in 1995, and the preparatory 
meetings for the World Conference Against Racism. The U.S. also played a role 
in negotiating the legal standards and procedures for the International Criminal 
Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, as well as the Rome Statute 
of the International Criminal Court (ICC). President Clinton signed that treaty, 
though he did not send it to Congress for ratification. In sum, his administra- 
tion's human rights policies appeared supportive of the growing prominence of 
mainstream human rights concerns. Sovereignty concerns bowed, however 
slightly, to commitments to multilateral rights enforcement. 

President George W. Bush entered office in January 200 1 with a distinctly 
different foreign policy vision from his predecessor. He spoke unabashedly in 
traditional terms about state sovereignty, including prioritizing the strengthening 
of U.S. military and economic interests both at home and abroad. Observers 
waited to see how this would translate into policy initiatives. How would the role 
of human rights in foreign policy change in his administration? Did tough talk 
on state sovereignty mean that the administration would definitively opt for uni- 
lateralism over multilateralism? 

Would the "new sovereigntists," who judged international obligations as 
"vague and illegitimately intrusive" because they relied on procedures that are 
"unaccountable and unenforceable," predominate? Would their view that "the 
United States can opt out of international regimes as a matter of power, legal 
right, and constitutional duty" be adopted? 20 What precisely is the impact of, in 
the title of a recent book, United States Hegemony and the Foundations of International 
Law? 21 

Thus while there has been a gradual transformation of many states' perspec- 
tives about their human rights responsibilities, the U.S. has not adopted a 
consistent policy of prioritizing human rights as an essential strategy for guaran- 
teeing international peace and security. Moreover, there has been little 
improvement in UN. -based human rights compliance mechanisms. Debates 
are thus justified about how full or empty the glass is at the beginning of the 
twenty-first century. On the one hand, Michael Ignatieff and others have popu- 

The serendipity of war, human rights, and sovereignty 1 1 

larized a so-called revolution in moral responsibility.— David RielT, on the other 
hand, questions such optimists because they have not "actually kept a single 
jackboot out of a single human face." 23 

To state the obvious, there is no "global Bismarck" for human rights any 
more than there is for other global challenges such as the protection of the envi- 
ronment or reducing unemployment. The United Nations and related treaty 
bodies do not have enforcement capabilities or even compliance modalities. 
What does this constrained system for global rights portend for a world con- 
fronted with terrorism and the apparent threat of weapons of mass destruction 
(WMD)? More particularly, how well do multilateralist commitments fare when 
confronted with the reality of unexpected attacks by groups such as Al Qaeda 
and the possibility of mass death? 

The effect of war? 

The authors analyze the underlying tensions, even the direct clash, between 
universal aspirations and norms for human rights, on the one hand, and the 
reality that there is only limited authority to ensure the security needed for 
human rights compliance, on the other. These tensions have been significantly, 
some would argue irretrievably, exacerbated by events since September 1 1 . In 
the immediate wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Penta- 
gon, the United States declared a war on the new, singularly important global 
security threat — terrorism. 

The U.S. began its war on terrorism with the invasion of Afghanistan but 
only after obtaining the approval of the United Nations, and the follow-on 
activities involved the cooperation of a coalition. Indeed, some commentators 
are quite unaware of the Security Council's genuinely supportive actions at that 
time, indeed throughout the 1990s, in the fight against terrorism. Others are 
ignorant of the General Assembly's long-standing efforts to hammer out inter- 
national conventions and treaties, even if the definition of "terrorism" has been 
finessed.- ' 

At home, the government rushed into law new measures, particularly the 
U.S.A. Patriot Act, that were designed to increase the authority of the state with 
the goal of preventing and prosecuting terrorist activity on U.S. soil. Many 
human rights NGOs expressed reservations that basic rights were all too likely 
to be sacrificed if the effort to protect the country was not conscious of the 
essential role of human rights in undercutting the generation of terrorists. The 
historical complementarity and tension between national and international 
compliance in the arena of human rights within the context of the war on terror 
is unsettling for every contributor to the book, but most notably addressed by 
those in the first and second sections. 

As the authors were outlining their analyses, the United States began plan- 
ning its war against Saddam Hussein. By the time they finished their rough 
drafts, the war in Iraq had begun on March 23; and even before chapters were 
finalized, the war was declared "over" on May 1, 2003 — although the violence 

1 2 Thomas G. Weiss, Margaret E. Crahan, and John Goering 

was certainly anything but over. As contributors were polishing their essays, the 
bombing of the U.N.'s i (quarters occurred, killing 23 persons, the 

largest disaster in the world organization's history. Throughout, domestic and 
international debate raged about whether and why to wage war, the importance 
of solidarity, the "end of alliances, " 2:l and what role the United Nations should 
play in the conflict and in rebuilding the country afterwards. Such concerns 
preoccupy especially those authors in the third section of the volume. 

As we go to press, the war has technically ended, while the fitful beginnings 
of Iraqi independence are taking shape amid almost daily deaths of Iraqi citi- 
zens and of U.S. and British military, and U.N. and human rights NGO 
personnel. The occupation under way promises to continue for months, if not 
years. Meanwhile. Washington returned to the Security Council in October 
2003 to seek an international imprimatur with an accompanying spread of risks 
and of costs; the result was Resolution 1511. 

Part 1, "Framing the debate," contains two essays that introduce the subject 
matter for the rest of the book: the interplay of U.S. domestic and foreign poli- 
cies on respect for human rights in the context of tensions between unilateralism 
and multilateralism in prosecuting the war on terrorism. While current issues 
are the focus, the authors also place U.S. policy in broader historical, cultural, 
and philosophical contexts. 

Tom J. Farer, the Dean of the Graduate School of International Studies at 
the University of Denver, begins with a comprehensive look at "The interplay 
of domestic politics, human rights, and U.S. foreign policy." He argues that 
U.S. foreign policy, lacking a clearly defined organizing principle since the end 
of the Cold War, selects from a set of multilateral, bilateral, or unilateral options 
depending on the task. Both Presidents Clinton and Bush, he finds, have been 
willing to use force when necessary to defend U.S. security or promote U.S. 
objectives. However, despite apparent expediency, there are deep social, reli- 
gious, and cultural forces that underlie the U.S.'s ambivalence toward human 
rights and multilateralism. Culture, class, and religion are currently construed 
by neo-conservatives within an evil/good dyad that frustrates subtler and more 
pragmatic policy options. They may also, as in the case of current policy, frus- 
trate commitments to multilateral institutions and goals. 

To explore the roots of the George W. Bush administration's unilateralism. 
Farer analyzes U.S. exceptionalism. Although unilateralism predominated 
during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, its roots run deeper. In order to estab- 
lish its nature, he contrasts traditional realist conservatives and more recent 
neo-conservatives. The former believe that "the purpose of statecraft is to 
advance U.S. power and protect material interests in a dangerously competitive 
and structurally anarchic world." Neo-conservatives, in contrast, have a more 
expansive vision. The U.S. "is not simply a great power but also a cluster of 
ideals." Farer concludes that George W. Bush, not unlike his father, embraced a 
limited realist perspective during his campaign, but that September 1 1 gave 
neo-conservative influences increased weight in policy decisions. 

Farer's operational definition of multilateral diplomacy is a helpful starting 

The serendipity of war, human rights, and sovereignty 1 3 

point for later chapters: "The test of a serious commitment to multilateralism is 
willingness to discuss ends and means and to modify them in order to foster 
cooperation not only in the instant case, but in a multitude of others that will 
eventually reach the policy agenda." A key issue for other contributors is assess- 
ing how much, and how willingly, the Bi lion's diplomacy in the 
wars on terrorism and Iraq has modified either means or ends. 

Central to the realization of any degree of multilateral engagement is the 
trade-off between realists, on the one hand, and neo-conservatives who defend a 
cluster of relatively inviolate "ideals," on the other hand. The rise of the latter 
has meant that the current Fourth World War, in Farer's terms, pits believers in 
free peoples and markets against infidels. "It is," Farer argues, "a war between 
democratic capitalism and its enemies." Hegemonic global control appears as 
the not quite invisible hand of these otherwise free-market acolytes. Such ideo- 
logical stances form an essential core of Farer's prediction that war is indeed our 
future. "As the financial and cultural base of the expansion (sometimes labeled 
'globalization'), the U.S. is the inevitable target for all those who, being threat- 
ened, resist. And since globalization is not a public policy . . . the U.S. 
government cannot erase the bull's eye from the nation's Hank." 

Farer also helps by clarifying the degree to which the corpus of human rights 
can be confined to a relatively narrow set of rights including those to life, to 
freedom from torture, and to some highly limited form of due process. War thus 
notably narrows those rights that any of us have a reasoned basis to expect as 
inviolate. He ends with a chastening view of policy options. While he concurs 
with neo-conservatives that the U.S. is "indispensable for any project to mitigate 
the present and looming humanitarian horrors of the twenty-first century," he is 
also acutely aware that neo-conservatives have repeatedly failed to protect the 
basic rights of individuals and the culture in Iraq. It is also these same ascendant 
policy-makers who indicate unease with multilateral commitments and ideals. 

In brief, Farer offers a sociopolitically informed but somewhat alarming view 
of the future. A question remains as to whether or not he adequately acknowl- 
edges the possibility of the emergence of countervailing liberal and critical views 
that can constrain, if not reverse, the neo-conservative influence in current 
foreign and human rights policies. Has the human rights movement the ability 
to challenge and reduce the power of neo-conservative hegemonic views? Will 
U.S. military shortcomings in Iraq cause a shift away from the current pre- 
emptive philosophy? He brilliantly dissects the roots and power of conservative 
views, but he offers less insight into alternative power centers that may reappear 
as policy pendulums shift and refocus. Finally, Farer reminds us: "However fine 
a symbol of cosmopolitan sympathies they may be, human rights are not yet 
connected in the U.S. electorate's mind to a set of foreign policy guidelines. As 
a symbol, therefore, they remain available for appropriation by advocates of 
almost any position." 

Chapter 2, "Pre-emption and exceptionalism in U.S. foreign policy: pre- 
cedent and example in the international arena," is by Judith Lichtenberg, 
research scholar at the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy and a professor 

1 4 Thomas G. Weiss, Margaret E. Crahan, and John Goering 

in the Department of Philosophy of the University of Maryland at College Park. 
She questions whether there is a guiding maxim or principle behind the Bush 
administration's policy of pre-emptive military intervention. It is unusual in a 
social science collection to introduce philosophical issues, but the editors thought 
that it would challenge readers to frame the issues more conceptually and hence 
facilitate the identification of relevant options. While political scientists and 
others may have difficulties with her framing of such topics as realism and 
humanitarian intervention, we urge them to consider carefully her line of 

Lichtenberg explores a range of principles that might serve as moral and 
operational maxims justifying the current U.S. policy in the wars on terrorism 
and Iraq. Her concern is: "What is most troubling about U.S. foreign policy 
today is the example that it holds up to the world and the precedent that it 
sets." Taking off from Immanuel Kant's Categorical Imperative and Jean-Paul 
Sartre's work, she argues that states should act according to universal principles. 
Even so, after running through a set of principles, she finds that: "The U.S. 
may engage in actions that other nations may not, such as deciding which 
foreign regimes are rogues and removing them." This is, clearly, an assertion of 
U.S. hegemony clothed in exceptionalism. It is also a view of U.S. unilateralism 
that arrogates "moral rights" to itself. Lichtenberg closes by proposing her own 
operational principle based on a cost-benefit understanding of what she labels 
"humanitarian intervention." She argues that states "may intervene militarily in 
the affairs of other states to prevent or end severe and widespread violations of 
human rights, when they have very good reason to believe that the benefits of 
intervention will outweigh the costs." 

Her philosophical insights, however, do not offer guidance about how to 
proceed in the rough and tumble of political, economic, and moral calculations 
within government, both in the short and longer term. How can benefits and 
costs be established, especially in the absence of any viable expression of choice 
by a country's residents? It seems unlikely that quantifiable measures of costs 
and benefits could be found with sufficient credibility to alter policy choices. 
Nor does Lichtenberg refer to the continual balancing of the pros ands cons, 
including budgetary liabilities, associated with traumatic foreign policy events. 
She nonetheless helps to guide the reader through a set of compelling philo- 
sophical choices that lay the basis for a closer examination of foreign policy. 

Building upon Farer's historical overview and Lichtenberg's conceptual con- 
cerns, Part 2, "Human rights and the war on terrorism," consists of three 
provocative analyses of the impact of the war on terrorism on human rights. 
The contributors explore this issue from different perspectives, including a look 
at whether prior U.S. administrations and the current one have complied with 
international human rights standards in general, and more specifically in the 
execution of the wars on terrorism and Iraq. 

Chapter 3, "U.S. foreign policy and human rights in an era of insecurity: the 
Bush administration and human rights after September 11," is by David 
P. Forsythe, the Charles J. Mac crl Professor of Political Science 

The serendipity of war, human rights, and sovereignty 1 5 

and University Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He begins by 
reminding us that "no administration has been able to secure a lasting and 
bipartisan commitment to specific human rights across time, situations, and 
issues." In part, this is due to the plethora of often hesitant voices addressing 
rights, but just as importantly to the fact that "situations of war and threat to 
security correlate negatively with human rights protection." For most of the 
public, as well as for their elected officials, security trumps rights no matter 
which party dominates the White House and the Congress. Nonetheless, 
Forsythe views the Bush administration as ultra-nationalist and unilateralist; it 
only "cosmetically" makes use of multilateral institutions. He illustrates this with 
an in-depth look at current policies toward the International Criminal Court, 
including the current President Bush's decision to "unsign" his predecessor's 
approval of the Rome Statute. 

In addition, Forsythe notes the administration's tendency to give more 
weight to a traditional prioritization of security over human rights since Sep- 
tember 1 1 . "Despite administration rhetoric stressing continuing interest in 
democracy, human rights, and political reform, the U.S. does not seriously press 
regimes on these 'liberal' issues when they are deemed crucial for U.S. military 
and paramilitary operations in places like Afghanistan and Iraq." Support for 
the U.S. on the broad agenda of anti-terrorism may well insulate some regimes 
from human rights charges by Washington. "The U.S. endorses international 
human rights in the abstract," Forsythe writes, "but practices a human rights 
policy that reflects cultural relativism and national particularity." He cites U.S. 
policy toward Uzbekistan and Egypt to illustrate his point, but makes clear that 
it has not only been the current administration that has failed to press aggres- 
sively for rights or democratizing reforms. 

Forsythe's analysis includes a useful assessment of the failures of virtually 
every U.S. administration to include welfare rights — including rights to food, 
shelter, and health care — among the set of basic human rights priorities that are 
accepted by most other states. This balkanization of "core rights" is a funda- 
mental limit to the viability of human rights campaigns both within the United 
States and globally. Forsythe notes that "international welfare rights remain the 
stepchild of the global human rights movement." When such rights are sup- 
ported, as in U.S. funding for the Millennium Challenge Account, it is typically 
to ensure that free trade and market-based capitalism are aided. An exception 
may be U.S. support for global AIDS prevention, which was proposed as part 
of the President's trip to Africa in mid-2003. 

Forsythe is among several contributors who take note of the contradictions 
within the current administration's security policies. "It remains," he writes, 
"supremely ironic that in order to pursue war allegedly in part for democracy in 
Iraq, Washington finds it useful to turn a blind eye to lack of democracy and 
related humans rights violations in key supporting states." He laments that U.S. 
promotion of absolute sovereignty assures continued firm opposition to any 
form of "muscular international law and organization" in support of equitable 
international human rights observances. Hence, Forsythe concludes, "What is 

1 6 Thomas G. Weiss, Margaret E. Crahan, and John Goering 

really needed in the twenty-first century is presidential leadership that can re- 
orient U.S. society to accept limits on state sovereignty and unilateral action." 

Chapter 4, "International human rights: unintended consequences of the 
war on terrorism," is by Jack Donnelly, Andrew W. Mellon Professor and Asso- 
ciate Dean of the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of 
Denver. His central argument is that the war on terrorism has shifted always 
limited attention and resources away from human rights. "Since September 1 1 , 
human rights have not so much retreated from American foreign policy as they 
have been eclipsed by a focus on terrorism." As a result, "the space in U.S. 
foreign policy for human rights and democracy has been significantly 
reduced — not by design, but no less surely." 

Donnelly reminds us that for the U.S., as well as for most countries, security 
comes before either economic or "other" human rights interests in foreign 
policy. It was the contraction of security concerns accompanying the end of the 
Cold War that enabled rights to flourish relatively, but not absolutely, and obvi- 
ously not irreversibly. As a result, attention shifted, in part, from "a largely 
reactive and remedial emphasis on stopping, and aiding victims of, systematic 
and often brutal repression" toward "a more positive emphasis on helping to 
build a human rights culture." 

Prioritizing human rights was short-lived. After the events of September 1 1 , 
human rights were again marginalized. Human rights violations and repressive 
policies in countries such as Pakistan, Russia, and Israel since September 1 1 illus- 
trate how security goals have displaced human rights within U.S. foreign policy. 
Even more worrying for those who see rights as an essential element for success 
in the war against terrorism, he offers a judgment that "a return to a more active, 
aggressive, and consistent international human rights policy must await the 
reopening of the political space currently pre-empted by the war or 

Donnelly offers an additional explanation for reordering of ir 
war on terrorism, namely the redefinition of the concept of "security" as a 
"tendency to conceive new threats in moralized terms and to respond with an 
irrational exuberance for a militarized crusade." September 1 1 renewed a 
sharply ideological vision of national security and a sense among some that 
human rights could be ignored in its defense. Indeed it has created a political 
circumstance that has resulted in "an increasing tendency to see security and 
human rights as competing rather than reinforcing concerns." Donnelly argues 
that the "axis of evil" states — Iraq, Iran, and North Korea — do not represent 
viable security threats. Despite this critical perspective on current U.S. foreign 
policy, Donnelly's unintended-interest perspective leaves room for hope that 
unrealistic security concerns will wane in the future, reopening more space for 
human rights and democracy concerns to flourish. 

Further evaluation of the current administration is provided in Chapter 5, 
"The fight against terrorism: the Bush administration's dangerous neglect of 
human rights." Kenneth Roth, a leading advocate in the international human 
rights movement and the Executive Director of Hi 
the ways that the administration is compromising respect for human rights in 

The serendipity of war, human rights, and sovereignty 1 7 

order to fight its war on terrorism. He worries that weakening the U.S. commit- 
ment to human rights and an overall "degrading of international standards 
threatens to come back to haunt the United States." Central to his argument is 
his belief that it is really only a strong human rights culture that can serve as an 
effective "antidote" to the "pathology of terrorism." 

While the U.S. has made such efforts as the Millennium Challenge Account, 
the war on terror has had, he concludes, a negative impact on U.S. human 
rights policy in three distinct areas. First, the Bush administration has refused to 
treat its terrorist suspects in accordance with international legal standards. 
Second, the U.S. has turned a blind eye to human rights abuses by foreign gov- 
ernments that are seen as allies in the war on terrorism. Third, the Bush 
administration has "intensely opposed the enforcement of international human 
rights law," exemplified by its opposition to the International Criminal Court. 

Roth worries that the current administration is both preventing public and 
press scrutiny of its detentions, and using the label of "enemy combatant" that 
"threatens to create a giant exception to the most basic guarantees of criminal 
justice." These measures suggest that the administration sees international 
human rights as "an inconvenient obstacle to fighting terrorism that is readily 
sidestepped rather than as an integral part of the anti-terrorism effort." His 
sharpest critique is that human rights "are dispensable" for the current Bush 

Roth recognizes that both Democratic and Republican administrations have 
traditionally been skeptical of human rights treaties. But the Bush administra- 
tion has intensified U.S. "resistance to enforceable human rights standards" 
since September 11. In addition to its stance against the ICC, the administra- 
tion has derailed efforts to protect human rights in such U.N. forums as 
negotiations over the proposed Optional Protocol to the Convention Against 
Torture, the General Assembly's Special Session on Children, and the Cairo 
Program of Action on population control. He concludes that the Bush adminis- 
tration's position vis-a-vis treaties undermines the evolution of human rights 
norms by signaling that they are but grand pronouncements rather than 
enforceable rights. 

Roth foresees two grave consequences of the Bush administration's war on 
terrorism. First, by failing to abide by international human rights standards, the 
U.S. is encouraging a "copycat phenomenon" as repressive regimes increasingly 
justify human rights violations in the name of combating terror. Second, the 
inconsistent record on human rights undermines U.S. credibility when the 
administration does speak out against human rights abuses. In sum, "an anti- 
terrorism policy that ignores human rights is a gift to terrorists." In pointing to 
this possible "boomerang" effect, Roth proposes stronger human rights as an 
essential underpinning for security: "A successful anti-terrorism policy must 
endeavor to build strong international norms and institutions on human rights, 
not provide a new rationale for avoiding and undermining diem." 

Part 3, "U.S. unilateralism in the wake of Iraq," consists of five thought- 
provoking analyses that explore the implications of the decision to go to war in 

1 8 Thomas G. Weiss, Margaret E. Crahan, and John Goering 

Iraq as well as the conduct and aftermath of the war. The five contributors 
challenge popular characterizations of U.S. policy along the spectrum between 
unilateralism and multilateralism and provide valuable insights into the impli- 
cations for the future of transatlantic relations and the central issue of conflict 
management in the Middle East. 

Edward C. Luck, the Director of the Center on International Organization 
and Professor of Practice in International and Public Affairs at Columbia Uni- 
versity, explores the possible motivations for the Bi 

make use of the United Nations in its planned war upon Iraq. Chapter 6, 
"Bush, Iraq, and the U.N.: whose idea was this anyway?," investigates why 
George W. Bush would seek multilateral support from the U.N. at all. That he 
stood before the General Assembly on September 12, 2002, and called on the 
world organization to authorize all necessary means to disarm Iraq was consid- 
ered surprising by some for an administration that had expressed a deep 
skepticism of the effectiveness of multilateral approaches and a clear preference 
for avoiding them. 

The administration ultimately sidestepped the U.N. and went to war with the 
support of the United Kingdom and a small coalition. Luck recites basic reasons 
why the U.S. campaign might have been predicted to be a failure before it 
began. The world organization, with its built-in power blocs of contending 
geopolitical interests, was a relatively inflexible and resistant tool for war plan- 
ning. Resistance existed because many states used the U.N. as a tool "to 
counterbalance, at least politically, U.S. power." Iraq had "habitually ignored 
Security Council resolutions about its weapons of mass destruction." On its part, 
the council looked askance upon U.S. verbal support for multilateralism in 
the face of what appeared to be an institutionalized distaste for international 
commitments. More pointedly, Luck reminds us that both the current Secretary- 
General and his predecessor "solemnly declared that the U.N. — despite its 
Charter — no longer was in the business of military enforcement." 

Despite these apparent institutional and political bases for not making use of 
the U.N., "the President, shrugging off the diplomatic torpedoes, decided at 
that point to plunge straight into the U.N.'s icy waters." Luck presents possible 
alternative explanations for the revived multilateralist inclinations of the Presi- 
dent in fall 2002. The four factors usually invoked to explain the President's 
appeal to the United Nations included pressure from domestic public opinion, 
Congress, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, or Secretary of State Colin Powell. 
He finds that while each of these factors influenced Bush's policy marginally, it 
was ultimately the President's own decision. 

Public opinion polls about the war in Iraq indicated that support for the war 
either remained the same or increased after, rather than before, Bush called for 
U.N. authorization. As for Congress, Luck shows that Democrats did not take a 
stance opposing a war on Iraq, let alone advocate pursuing multilateral diplo- 
macy. In the same vein, there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate that 
pressure from either Prime Minister Blair or Secretary of State Powell was deci- 
sive in formulating bush's U.N. policy. 

The serendipity of war, human rights, and sovereignty 19 

Luck concludes that the President followed his own judgment and instincts in 
deciding to seek support from the Security Council in order to forcefully disarm 
Iraq, suggesting that while it would be a stretch to call Bush a "closet inter- 
nationalist," he nonetheless has some internationalist leanings. Bush possessed 
an "abiding confidence that he could persuade the world and employ the Secu- 
rity Council to advance his vision of a transformed and disarmed Iraq and of a 
reinvigorated and more muscular United Nations." 

Luck's conclusion differs from most conventional analyses of this moment on 
the road to Baghdad. He argues that George W. Bush is too easily dismissed "as 
something of a clumsy and dimwitted country bumpkin" and offers a convinc- 
ing argument that the President was tactically shrewd in seeking multilateral 
support, as had his father before him in the Gulf war. Luck's analysis forces the 
reader to wonder how his staff could have so poorly evaluated the viability of 
potential Security Council support following Resolution 1441 of November 
2002, with a hint that by knowingly allowing the Security Council to fail, the 
administration greased the skids on the Council's gradual paralysis. Indeed, 
Bush seemed to have won more than he lost. As Luck reports, "the Security 
Council's bitter divisions over the use of force in Iraq . . . soured American 
public support for the United Nations." An ostensible multilaleralist move by 
Bush, in fact, served to reinforce popular unilateralism — surely a long-term goal 
of the new sovereigntists. In a White House not known for making simple tacti- 
cal errors, this could have been among their shrewdest political choices to 
undercut for domestic purposes — even if only in the short run — the Security 

Just how much did the Bush administration anticipate and consider the con- 
sequences of its decision to proceed with the war on Iraq? Chapter 7, "The war 
against Iraq: normative and strategic implications," is by Mohammed Ayoob, 
University Distinguished Professor of International Relations at James Madison 
College, Michigan State University. He explores how the Bush administration's 
rhetorical manipulation of normative and strategic justifications for waging war 
against Iraq affects global perceptions of the United States and regional geo- 
politics in the Middle East. 

Ayoob believes that this administration's unilateralism departs from Wash- 
ington's position in the 1990s as a "liberal hegemon," in which it willingly and 
frequently sacrificed "some of its immediate interests in order to promote the 
legitimacy and credibility of multilateral institutions." By abandoning this 
stance, the U.S. has risked fracturing the North Atlantic alliance and undermin- 
ing the moral authority of international institutions. "Unilateralism," he argues, 
"begets selectivity and, therefore, the charge of hypocrisy thus eroding the 
moral basis of international order." 

Ayoob evaluates the argument that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction justi- 
fied the war. Within the Arab world, he argues, it was well known that Iraq no 
longer possessed such weaponry. These weapons, he asserts, "posed no real 
threat to its neighbors." Equally importantly, and with more credibility, Arabs 
believe that it is Israel's nuclear capability that poses a far clearer and more 

20 Thomas G. Weiss, Margaret E. Crahan, and John Goering 

present danger to them and the region. The U.S. war on Iraq, therefore, will 
increase Arab anger toward the U.S., thereby potentially destabilizing pro- 
Western regimes in the region. Moreover, Ayoob contends that U.S. action has 
severely damaged the "legitimacy and credibility of the U.N." and will likely 
lead to further geopolitical competition between the U.S. and its closest allies in 

Arab anger and radicalism, he believes, will be fueled because the war in 
Iraq will strengthen Arab solidarity with the plight of and perceived injustices 
toward Palestinians. Even the May 2003 "Road Map" that included provisions 
for an independent state of Palestine will be viewed as "another half-hearted 
attempt to assuage the concerns of pro-Western regimes that feel their legiti- 
macy increasingly challenged." The U.S. has demonstrated that it sustains 
"double standards" in which Israel is free to violate some 32 Security Council 
resolutions, while Iraq is vigorously sanctioned for similar violations of far fewer 
supposedly obligatory mandates. 

Ayoob asserts the deep perils of engaging in policy initiatives in a region all 
too inured to scores of prior attempts and failures. In addition, he fears that if 
Iraqi oil resources become seen as "the overriding goal of U.S. policy," contin- 
ued regional turmoil is almost certain. He leaves us with a clearly drawn 
portrait of a region that disputes virtually every postulate of current U.S. policy 
toward Iraq and the Middle East. He offers a sobering depiction of the geopo- 
litical limits of the war in Iraq and its consequences for the United Nations, the 
region, and Washington's credibility as an international standard-bearer for 
human rights. If Ayoob is correct, U.S. dominance through Israeli regional 
hegemony will further fuel the clash between Islamic Arabs and the Judeo- 
Christian West: "In order to guarantee U.S. hegemony in the short run through 
unilateral measures, the Bush administration may well have ended up damaging 
the chances of prolonging America's legitimate pre-eminence in the inter- 
national system over a more extended period." 

Chantal de Jonge Oudraat, Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic 
Relations at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of The 
Johns Hopkins University and Adjunct Professor at the Edmund A. Walsh 
School of Foreign Service of Georgetown University, offers an analysis of "The 
future of U.S. -European relations" in Chapter 8. She begins by examining the 
views of the "establishment school of thought," which maintains that no funda- 
mental problems exist in U.S. -European relations. She then scrutinizes the 
"estrangement school," of which Ayoob is an example, which contends that the 
U.S. and Europe are inexorably drifting apart. 

Oudraat believes that both are off the mark. Nevertheless, she sides with the 
establishment school by arguing that the fundamentals of the transatlantic rela- 
tionship are strong. The United States and Europe continue to share basic and 
fundamental values such as democracy, free trade, and human rights. Further- 
more, economic disputes between Washington and the continent are not serious 
enough to threaten the fundamentals of the partnership. However, she is clear 
that NATO will no longer be the centerpiece of the transatlantic security part- 

The serendipity of war, human rights, and sovereignty 2 1 

nership, but that the U.S. and Europe continue to face common extra-regional 
security threats. NATO, she argues, is gradually "withering away." Part of the 
explanation undoubtedly reflects the fact that European states have a pro- 
nounced aversion to the use of force "as a tool of international relations." At the 
same time, she sees Kosovo as a "watershed" in that the U.S. learned that "war 
by multilateral committee is a bad idea" and that "the U.S. could do it alone." 

Generalized security threats will require capabilities that NATO does not 
have. Rather than view the transatlantic partnership as we know it as either 
dead or alive, Oudraat believes that U.S. and European relations will become a 
web of alliances, what she calls a new "transatlantic security network." This 
network has several key defining characteristics including that ties within it will 
likely be dynamic and issue-specific, and that individual states will be closely 
engaged in bilateral ties to Washington. This new U.S.-Europe network will 
likely cooperate with other international and multilateral organizations on sec- 
urity issues alone, largely independent of other areas of transatlantic diplomacy. 
Most critically for those concerned with oversight and transparency, she believes 
that this new set of alliances will develop outside of public scrutiny because of 
the nature of countering terrorism and WMD. 

She concludes by specifying a set of conditions that would enable this new 
version of a transatlantic alliance to flourish, many of which are daunting. 
Included is the requirement that the U.S. and Europe "build an international 
consensus regarding the basic rules that govern the network." It was, however, 
this very challenge that so quickly paralyzed the Security Council in confronting 
Iraq. There is little evidence that such a consensus will quickly or easily emerge. 
Although the form of the future network is still to be determined, Oudraat 
assures us at least that the wars on terrorism and Iraq have not totally shaken 
the fundamentals of the transatlantic partnership. 

Foreign policy differences between Europe and the United States go beyond 
the realm of security. In Chapter 9, "Legal unilateralism," Columbia Univer- 
sity's Professor of Law, Jose Alvarez, explores the legal dimension of the U.S. 
preference for unilateralism and the European penchant for multilateralism. 
The Bush administration's decision to wage war on Iraq displayed only the 
most recent rift between European and U.S. visions of a global order based on 
international law. The continent and the United States, Alvarez argues, "may 
be growing farther apart with respect to their attitudes toward the rules and 
institutions of public international law." His view of legal perspectives differs 
from Oudraat's interpretation of the fundamental solidity in values on the two 
sides of the Atlantic. 

Notable differences in legal philosophy and commitments exist between 
European and U.S. international lawyers as exemplified by wide divergences 
over the legitimacy of the death penalty and the importance of ratifying and 
implementing a range of international treaties. European lawyers have been 
especially critical of the Bush administration's new doctrine of pre-emptive 
defense. Differences are neither incidental nor marginal to national interests 
but rather have evolved into a fundamental choice because, in contrast to their 

22 Thomas G. Weiss, Margaret E. Crahan, and John Goering 

U.S. counterparts, "Europe's positivistic international lawyers take multi- 
lateralism more seriously." The legal obligation to cooperate is, for them, 
absolutely fundamental; "their civic religion is multilateralism." 

U.S. legal thought, in comparison, turns rather to concerns about the effec- 
tiveness of international legal systems, including for many the "blatant 
ineffectiveness" of the U.N. Charter. "International human rights are essentially 
for export" reveals an underlying belief in exceptionalism; the purpose of law is 
to protect U.S. values, interests, and political order. In the process of narrowing 
the relevance of international commitments, the U.S. is now seen, by many in 
Europe, as fundamentally uninterested "in using the Council to define or 
defend coherent international rules applicable to all." Arab and Muslim govern- 
ments, as well as European international lawyers and their governments, reach 
relatively comparable conclusions from very different starting points. 

Alvarez places European reactions to the U.S.'s attempt to obtain Security 
Council authorization for the use of force against Iraq in this context of differ- 
ing legal cultures. After the first Gulf war, the Security Council passed 
Resolution 687, which stipulated boundary demarcations and imposed duties 
on Iraq to destroy its weapons. In Alvarez's view, "Resolution 687 effectively 
put Iraqi sovereignty in receivership," criminalizing the Iraqi regime along the 
lines of the Treaty of Versailles. As the effectiveness of this effort came into 
question during the 1990s, Europeans became increasingly uncomfortable with 
the notion of collectively punishing the Iraqi people. The current Bush adminis- 
tration's enthusiasm for the logic of the "mother of all resolutions" led to calling 
on the U.N. for authorization for the military invasion of Iraq in order to effect 
regime change. This episode became yet another case in which the U.S. treated 
the UN. and international law "as mere politics." 

Concluding this third section, New York I'nivcrsin 's Bruce Jones makes use 
of his experience as Chief of Staff to the U.N. Special Coordinator for the 
Middle East Peace Process to assess U.S. preferences for unilateral or multilat- 
eral diplomacy in the region. His analysis points toward a pragmatic rather 
than an ideological approach to foreign policy, thereby disagreeing with Ayoob 
and, to a degree, Farer. Chapter 10, "Tactical multilateralism: U.S. foreign 
policy and crisis management in the Middle East," begins by describing factors 
that remained constant throughout both the current and preceding administra- 
tions. In his view, "the record suggests a 'tactical multilateralism'" in which 
there is "use of multilateral instruments when they help achieve U.S. goals, tol- 
erance of multilateral approaches where they do not impede U.S. objectives, 
and avoidance of multilateral institutions when they threaten to constrain U.S. 
policy." Jones reminds us that all multilateral instruments really only "work 
effectively when they balance core principles with a constructive relationship 
with U.S. power." It is therefore futile to seek ideological moorings because 
foreign policy calculations are necessarily tactical and not philosophical. He 
notes that "the pros or the cons of [a] policy lie not in whether the approach is 
unilateral or multilateral, for the form of engagement does not particularly 
shape the nature of policy." 

The serendipity of war, human rights, and sovereignty 23 

Jones illustrates this view by examining the evolution of U.S. policy on the 
Middle East peace process and the Arab-Israeli conflict. He documents the 
Clinton administration's approach of "engaged unilateralism," which insisted 
upon exclusive U.S. leadership of any peace initiatives at the expense of any 
multilateral approach. In contrast, and distinct from the conventional wisdom, 
Jones finds evidence of modest tactical multilateral engagement by the current 
Bush administration, especially through the Quartet in which coordination of 
efforts has relied upon the U.N., the European Union (E.U.), and Russia. 

In Afghanistan, the Bush administration was able to pursue its policies, 
devised to reflect its interpretation of the national interest, through multilateral 
channels. By contrast, in Iraq, once it became clear that the Security Council 
would not pass a resolution tailored according to U.S. specifications or on the 
schedule deemed necessary, the U.S. opted to pursue its strategic objectives by 
skirting the U.N. and building an ad hoc coalition. Jones points out that the rift 
between the U.S. and the Security Council members who opposed approving 
the war in Iraq was a "false debate." The Bush administration's ethical appeal 
to the world organization to authorize force against Iraq in order to strengthen 
the U.N. by proving its willingness to enforce resolutions was regarded by some 
as disingenuous. French, German, and Russian objections were similarly con- 
sidered unprincipled. 

Jones concludes by examining the potential implications of U.S. policy for 
the Middle East and the United Nations, which is especially pertinent in think- 
ing through the implications for the "Road Map" that was finally put on the 
table in late spring 2003. He disagrees with those who believe that the Security 
Council has been irreparably damaged. For instance, he notes a series of actions 
taken both by the Security Council, as well as by the current administration, 
that have helped bridge the harsh divide that appeared in March. Nonetheless, 
he believes that "there is also room for a great deal of skepticism about whether 
the U.N., as currently configured, can realistically be expected to play a credi- 
ble role in managing key contemporary threats to international security." It is 
with only "deep and sustained reform" that the U.N. security apparatus might 
grow to have a more substantial and consistent role in restraining future wars. 
Rather than ask what the impact of U.S. policy will be on the United Nations, 
Jones suggests that the better question for the future of the world organization is 
whether it can evolve to meaningfully adapt to the current global power 
balance and to new challenges to international peace and security. 

Looking toward conclusions 

There are numerous issues and questions that readers should keep in mind as 
they proceed through the following essays. The first concerns the relative weight 
of fundamental rights. While security pressures and fears historically have often 
overridden human rights, what have we learned from this most recent contest 
among war, terrorism, and human rights? 

The second is the actual trajectory in the evolution in human rights. Have 

24 Thomas G. Weiss, Margaret E. Crahan, and John Goering 

they gradually assumed a more central role in international relations? Do 
human rights constitute an enforceable diplomatic prerequisite for the legiti- 
macy of any government, especially one exercising international leadership? Are 
there domestic implications within the U.S. of the tension between war and 
human rights? 

A third issue regards the caricature that juxtaposes the extremes of a fully 
multilateralist engagement versus a unilateralist posture, which may not accu- 
rately describe U.S. foreign policy decisions. Even within an administration 
often espousing a unilateralist approach, multilateralism may emerge as a tacti- 
cal option. Under what circumstances should tactical multilateralism kick in? 
Given the intensity of the commitment to sovereignty, what are the prospects 
for the stability and growth of rights based on U.N. conventions and treaties? 
To what extent is it realistic to expect the remaining superpower to engage in 
more than tactical multilateralism? 

A closely related set of issues concerns the health of intergovernmental insti- 
tutions. In the post-World War II era, all presidents and their administrations 
have selectively made use of alliances and intergovernmental institutions in the 
pursuit of foreign policy goals. To what extent have the wars on terrorism and 
Iraq damaged international organizations, most notably the United Nations? 
Conversely, have these wars engendered an enthusiasm for the restructuring or 
reform of multilateral instruments as a safeguard against the potential excesses 
of hegemonic states? 

We will return to these questions in the final chapter but readers are first 
invited to appreciate the expertise and insights in the following chapters. 


1 Michael E. Brown, ed., Grave New World: Challenges in the 21st Century (Washington, 
D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2003), p. ix. 

2 For indications of the thinking under way, see two collections coordinated by the 
Social Science Research Council: Eric Hershberg and Kevin W. Moore, eds., Critical 
Views of September 11: Analyses from Around the World (New York: The New Press, 2002); 
and Craig Calhoun, Paul Price, and Ashley Timmer, eds., Understanding September 11 
(New York: The New Press. 2002). See also James F. Hoge Jr. and Gideon Rose, 
eds., How Did This Happen? Terrorism and the New War (New York: Public Affairs. 

3 For an overview, see Richard C. Leone and Greg Anrig Jr., eds., The War on Our 
Freedoms: Civil Liberties in an Age of Terrorism (New York: Public Affairs, 2003). 

4 Edward C. Luck, Mixed Messages: American Politics and International Organization 
1919-1999 (Washington, D.C.: Brookings, 1999), p. 16. Michael Ignatieff argues 
that "the very idea that American justice should be brought before the bar of inter- 
national standards seems, to many Americans, to be impudent, unpatriotic, or 
irrelevant." In Michael Ignatieff, "The Rights Stuff," New York Review of Books, 
June 13, 2002. 

5 See, for exan ><>ri on U.S. Patriot Act Alleges Civil Rights 
Violations," New York Times, July 21, 2003, p. Al. 

6 Anne-Marie Slaughter, "Good Reasons for Going around the LbN.," Nnc York Times. 
March 18, 2003, p. A33. 

The serendipity of war, human rights, and sovereignty 25 

7 Quoted by James Traub, "The Next Resolution," New York Times Magazine. April 13, 
2003, p. 51. 

8 Mary Robinson, "Shaping Globalization: The Role of Human Rights," Fifth Annual 
Grotius lecture, American Society of International Law, April 2003, Washington, 

9 After careful consideration, the editors eliminated this topic from the volume. While 
the wars on terrorism and in Iraq are distinct events, they are intimately linked in 
public and intellectual discourse. Thus focusing only on these two events made for a 
more cohesive volume. For published overviews by participants in the seminar, see 
Gay McDougall, "The World Conference Against Racism: Through a Wider Lens," 
Fletcher Forum of World Affairs 26, no. 2 (Summer 2002), pp. 133-49; and J. Michael 
Turner, "The Road to Durban— and Back," NACLA Report on the Americas XXXV 
(May-June 2002), pp. 31-5. See also "Anti-racism summit ends on a hopeful note: 
progress amid controversy," Human Rights Watch World Report 2001 (New York: 
Human Rights Watch, 2001). 

10 Adam Nogourney, "For Democrats Challenging Bush, Ashcroft Is Exhibit A," New 
York Times, July 13, 2003, p. 14. 

11 See U.S. Department of Justice, "The September 11 Detainees: A Review of the 
Treatment of Aliens Held on Immigration Charges in Connection with the Investi- 
gation of the September 11 Attacks," April 2003, Office of the Inspector General,; Eric Lichtblau, "U.S. Report 
Faults the Roundup of Illegal Immigrants after 9/11," New York Tunes, June 3, 2003, 
p. Al; Mike Allen, "Former INS Head Warns of Rights Abuses." Wi.shiii^hn Po.~,l. 
June 15, 2003, p. A12. 

1 2 The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Com- 
mittee on Intelligence, Report of the Joint Inquiry Into the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 
2001, July 24, 2003, lrpt/index.html. 

13 For a collection of views from around the world, see David M. Malone and Yuen 
Foong Khong, eds., Unilateralism and U.S. Foreign Policy: International Perspectives 
(Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2003). For a slightly different take, see Stewart Patrick 
and Shepard Forman, eds.. Multilateralism and U.S. Foreign Policy (Boulder, CO: Lynne 
Rienner, 2002). 

14 "Transcript of Press Conference by Secretary-General Kofi Annan at United 
Nations Headquarters, 30 July 2003," Press Release SG/SM/8803, p. 7. 

15 For more, see Thomas G. Weiss, David P. Forsythe, and Roger A. Coate, The United 
Nations and Changing World Politics, 4th edition (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2004), Chap- 
ters 5-7. 

16 This point is documented in the first two sections. On race, see Michael Banton, 
International Action against Discrimination (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996) and idem, The 
International Politics of Race (London: Polity Press, 2002). 

17 See the argument by Robert Drinan. The Mobilization of Shame: A World View of Human 
Rights (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001). 

18 International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, The Responsibility to 
Protect (Ottawa: ICISS, 2001). 

19 Francis M. Deng, Protecting the Dispossessed: A Challenge for the International Community 
(Washington, D.C.: Brookings, 1993); Francis M. Deng et al, Sovereignty as Responsibil- 
ity Washington, D.C.: Brookings, 1995); and Francis M. Deng. "Frontiers of 
Sovereignty," Leiden Journal of International Law 8, no. 2 (1995), pp. 249-86. 

20 Peter Spiro, "The New Sovereigntists: American Ex< eptionalism and Its False 
Prophets," Foreign Affairs 79, no. 6 (November-December 2002), pp. 9-10. 

2 1 Michael Byers and Georg Noire, eds., United States Hegemony and the Foundations of Inter- 
national Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003). 

22 See Michael Ignatieff, Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton 
University Press, 2001), edited with an introduction by Amy Gutman. 

26 Thomas G. Weiss, Margaret E. Crahan, and John Goering 

23 David Rieff, A Bed for the Night: Ilumanitarianism in Crisis (London: Vintage, 2002), 
p. 15. 

24 For historical overviews and discussions of the current context, see Chantal de Jonge 
Oudraat, "The role of the Security Council," and M.J. Peterson, "Using the General 
Assembly," in Jane Boulden and Thomas C Weiss, cds.. Terrorism and the UN.: Before 
and After September 11 (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2004), Chapters 7 
and 8. 

25 Rajan Menon, "The End of Alliances," World Policy Journal XX, no. 2 (Summer 
2003), pp. 1-20. 

Part 1 

Framing the debate 

The interplay of domestic 
politics, human rights, and 
U.S. foreign policy 

Tom J. Farer 

However fine a symbol of cosmopolitan sympathies they may be, human rights 
are not yet connected in the U.S. electorate's mind to a set of foreign policy 
guidelines. As a symbol, therefore, they remain available for appropriation by 
advocates of almost any position. The contributors to this volume share the 
conviction that it is possible to anticipate, however provisionally, the human 
rights consequences of today's foreign policy projects and their associated grand 
strategies. This essay is a nascent effort to clarify the substance, purposes, and 
sources of the doctrines and strategies that have been competing for dominance 
over U.S. foreign policy. 

During the 12 years between the destruction of the Berlin Wall and the 
destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the foreign 
policy of the George HW. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations lacked an 
overriding theme, possibly because it lacked an organizing Manichaean focal 
point. Themes were indeed debated by politicians and commentators, usually in 
dyadic terms: unilateralism v. multilateralism, humanitarian intervention v. 
national self-restraint, realism v. idealism, coercive v. persuasive diplomacy, and 
the West v. the rest. There were also values like human rights and democracy 
airily invoked but ambiguously and controversially expressed in the quotidian 
details of policy. 

September 1 1 and the subsequent war on terrorism provide a new, thor- 
oughly Manichaean policy template with implications for domestic as well as 
foreign affairs. But within that template the existing dyads and values continue 
to color debate. Should we organize coalitions of the willing or act through the 
United Nations? Should we ethically sanitize any government that aspires to 
join the war on our side or seek ideological coherence among our allies? Should 
we succor failed and failing states or simply quarantine them and deter export 
of their pathologies? And what restraints should human rights impose on our 
means? In short, September 1 1 does not absolve us from dealing with old issues. 
The context has arguably changed; the traditional divisions within 
nity of foreign policy analysts and practitioners have not. 

30 Tom J. Farer 

The post-Cold War debate over grand strategy 

As soon as the Cold War became history, analysts, practitioners, and politicians 
began debating four grand strategies. 1 One, often labeled "neo-isolationism," 
called for withdrawal from overseas military commitments and a corresponding 
reduction in defense expenditures. Its advocates were a curiously mixed crew. 
There were the libertarians, who championed a minimalist foreign policy that 
would in turn help make minimalist government possible, and were confident 
that two oceans, nuclear deterrence, weak neighbors, non-existent competitors 
for global power, and regional balances of power outside the western hemi- 
sphere made minimalism safe, indeed safer to the extent that it discouraged 
U.S. involvement in other peoples" quarrels.- Libertarians are not provincial in 
their sympathies; they believe that free markets and the U.S. example make the 
world a better place. 

Starting with similar security premises but rather more provincial values, 
basically the traditional conservative conviction that duties are owed only to 
members of one's own national tribe, the shrinking band of paleo-conservatives, 
led by the perpetual presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan, arrived at roughly 
the same general policy preference. 3 Despite its contrastingly cosmopolitan view 
of human obligation and sour view of American society, so did the old left (epit- 
omized by Noam Chomsky), 4 driven by the conviction that the structure of 
social power assures that the U.S. will generally act ungenerously. Thus it joined 
some odd bedfellows in urging minimal engagement with the rest of the world 
albeit for the sake of the world. 

Selective engagement, the second grand strategy, also had its adherents. 
While they too were generally sanguine about the U.S.'s long-term security 
position, they regarded regional power balancing as sufficiently problematic to 
require monitoring and occasional intervention either to restore or to reinforce 
local power balances in regions or sub-regions of real importance to the United 
States. One advocate, the European commentator Josef Joffe, called explicitly 
for a foreign policy of "offshore balancing." 5 

Since the importance of different regions and sub-regions is likely to vary 
over time and since reasonable people can and will differ in their perceptions of 
the need for U.S. intervention to prevent the emergence of regional hegemons, 
selective engagement invariably slides toward the two other competitors for doc- 
trinal dominance: unilateral and multilateral global engagement. Adherents of 
these last two had much in common. They believed that developments world- 
wide can have a serious impact on the security and welfare of the American 
people and that a relalix ical, economic, and military envi- 

ronment requires unremitting involvement. They differed, however, in at least 
two respects: in the way they prioritized threats and, more importantly, in basic 
ideas about remedies. 

Global unilateralists, like selective engagers, emphasized classical political- 
military threats, precisely those that are most amenable to mitigation by military 
power, the resource that the United States possesses in singular abundance. 6 

Domestic politics, human rights, and U.S. foreign policy 31 

Global multilateralists, while they would not eliminate, would at least flatten the 
hierarchy, thus reducing the steep distinction between threats that often yield to 
coercive diplomacy and threats like pandemics, global warming, destruction of 
the seas' living resources and the rain forests, and volatility in the global economy 
that are not amenable to military remediation. 7 Nor, of course, will they yield to 
any other form of unilateral action. 

There is something less here than a simple policy polarity. Specifying a pure 
example of either the unilateralist or multilateralist is not easy. There is a con- 
tinuum of attitudes and a tendency for policy-makers to position themselves 
rhetorically near what they believe the U.S. electorate will perceive as the 
center. For example, it is virtually a cliche to describe the Bush administration 
as "unilateralist." Yet when pressed on this point, senior officials reject the des- 
ignation. They invoke their efforts to construct different coalitions for different 
tasks. 8 In the war in Iraq they have been at pains to publicize the numbers of 
cooperating states (including those preferring to remain anonymous) many mag- 
nitudes larger than those directly engaged in the fighting. 9 So, they argue, they 
cannot be categorized as unilateralists; they simply are not in favor of multi- 
lateralism for the sake of multilateralism, as one senior official put it in a private 
meeting or, in the words of another still higher official speaking semi-privately, 
they are not "lowest-common-denominator" multilateralists. 10 

By comparison, the Clinton administration was widely seen as distinctly multi- 
lateralist. The President struggled to secure appropriations from Congress to pay 
U.N. arrears. He signed global environmental agreements and the treaty estab- 
lishing an International Criminal Court (ICC). And in the case of Somalia, he 
antagonized conservatives by placing U.S. troops at least notionally under the 
direct authority of the U.N. Secretary-General. 11 Yet following the lethal firelight 
in the streets of Mogadishu, Clinton authorized U.N. Ambassador Madeleine 
Albright to deliver a lecture at the National War College declaring readiness to 
use force without reference to or even in defiance of the world organization's 
Charter. In an address that could as easily have been written by her Reaganite 
predecessor, Jeane Kirkpatrick, the future Secretary of State remarked that the 
United States would approach international conflicts on "a case by case basis, 
relying on diplomacy whenever possible, on force when absolutely necessary." 12 

Although the rhetoric of more-or-less liberal Democratic and of plainly 
conservative Republican officials often seems indistinguishable insofar as multi- 
lateralism is concerned, right-wing commentators perceive a qualitative 
difference between the real attitudes of themselves and liberals of all stripes. One 
way of getting at that difference is through an operationally meaningful defini- 
tion of multilateralism. If it includes everything from ad hoc coalitions of the 
willing — even if the will be bought or coerced — to world government, in policy 
terms it means nothing. But if it attaches substantial value to the institutionaliza- 
tion or the "normalization" of cooperation by means of legal rules and 
intergovernmental bureaucracies, then real differences quickly emerge. 13 

One good indicator of a serious commitment to multilateralism is uninten- 
tionally found in Albright's War College speech in which she proposes that the 

32 Tom J. Farer 

U.S. should use multilateral institutions only instrumentally. That proposition is 
deaf to the possibility that one end might be stren 

tions precisely because they facilitate cooperation. If institutions are used only 
when they abjectly serve immediate purposes, we weaken them by implicitly 
announcing a lack of commitment to cooperation on any terms other than our 
own. Who needs institutions if our intention is to determine our ends and 
means independently and then bludgeon others to help shoulder the costs? The 
test of a serious commitment to n >ness to discuss ends and 

means and to modify them in order to foster cooperation not only in the instant 
case, but in a multitude of others that will eventually reach the policy agenda. 

Unilateralism in historical context 

Throughout the Cold War era, a defining characteristic of the right wing in 
U.S. politics has been hostility to international organizations and the integrally 
related encumbrance of international law. To the extreme right, international 
organizations were part of a left-wing if not fully communistic threat to U.S. 
sovereignty and culture. In recent years the basic hostility, particularly to inter- 
national institutions but also to international law in its current form, has 
emerged from provincial fortresses into segments of polite society, acquiring on 
the way the sophisticated accent of high-gloss policy journals 14 and the leading 
business newspaper. 15 Of course, unease about foreign entanglement has a ven- 
erable historical pedigree, extending back to the generation of the Founding 
Fathers. 16 Reluctance to take sides in the clashes of the Europeans did not, 
however, coincide with hostility to international law. After all, the nineteenth- 
century legal order, premised on the equal right of states large and small to 
govern their internal affairs, to use oceanic trade routes on the same terms, and 
to be neutral in relation to the conflicts of third parties, was peculiarly beneficial 
to weak states. In order to defend its self-perceived rights under international 
law the new country even fought against Great Britain in the War of 1812. 

The sense that legal restraints on the use of national power served national 
interests did not expire when the U.S. itself joined the club of the powerful at 
the end of the nineteenth century. On the contrary, the then small foreign 
policy establishment, manned largely by East Coast bankers and lawyers, 
became leading advocates of legal restraints on the use of force, clashing fiercely 
with their German counterparts at The Hague Peace Conferences of 1897 and 
1904. 17 Charles Evans Hughes, a Republican and a conservative in the idiom of 
the time, spearheaded the U.S. effort. While Senator Henry Cabot Lodge 
played the leading role in blocking U.S. participation in the League of Nations 
after World War I, overall foreign policy elites sustained the turn-of-the-century 
commitment to international law during the interwar period. 18 The U.S. promi- 
nently backed and signed the Naval Limitation Treaty and the Kellogg-Briand 
Pact ostensibly outlawing war for purposes other than self-defense, a restraint 
that went well beyond the language in the League of Nations Covenant. 19 

This tradition of upper-class commitment to international law as a vehicle for 

Domestic politics, human rights, and U.S. foreign policy 33 

advancing national interests reached its apogee during and immediately following 
World War II with the drafting and ratification of the U.N. Charter, the creation 
of the Bretton Woods institutions, and the adoption of the Universal Declaration 
of Human Rights. 20 Nor did it end there. In 1956, when France and the United 
Kingdom colluded with Israel to invade Egypt, it was the Republican administra- 
tion of Dwight D. Eisenhower that used the Security Council to declare that, 
whatever their grievances, the invaders could not seek amelioration through acts 
of violence incompatible with the Charter of the United Nations. 21 

But even as this was occurring, the split within the Republican Party that 
would ultimately help restructure the U.S. foreign policy elite was already 
apparent. 22 Passage of the Republican scepter from Eisenhower to Richard 
Nixon signaled the beginning of the end of the eastern elite's domination of the 
Republican Party and American foreign policy. Richard Nixon, who had made 
his political ascent first by accusing his opponents of ties to international com- 
munism and then by leading the Congressional inquiry that would culminate in 
the perjury conviction of Alger Hiss, opened the party to southerners who had 
abandoned the Democratic Party when, during Harry Truman's presidency, it 
had abandoned its tolerance of racial autocracy south of the Mason-Dixon line. 
In the name of local rights against federal power and of freedom from regula- 
tion, Nixon made the Party of Lincoln relatively comfortable for bigots 
although he did not attempt to roll back the gains of black Americans. 23 In a 
Republican Party increasingly tilting to the culture and society of the south, the 
southwest, and the Rocky Mountains, Faulkner's Mississippi Snopes met their 
Orange County counterparts and found common cause. 24 

Nixon, not unlike Lyndon Johnson, presided over the transition from an 
eastern-based elite to southern and western populism in league, however uncon- 
sciously, with corporate power. 25 But, whatever the cultural emanations and 
rhetoric, his generally centrist domestic policies and on the whole cautious 
foreign ones were much more in line with those of northeast Republicanism 
than the preferences of the right-wing populist forces who were assuming 
control of the party's base. They had signaled their power in 1 964 with Barry 
Goldwater. Nixon could express their resentments in his self and his language, 
but not in his policies. For the complete package, or at least what seemed to be 
the complete package, they had to await Ronald Reagan with his "welfare 
queens" and "evil empires" and calls for victory in the Cold War in place of the 
Nixon-Ford-Kissinger experiments with detente. 26 George H.W. Bush was a 
compromise, the Brahmin gone but not bred south. The grass roots would have 
to wait for the son who, in migrating with his family to the new heartland of 
Lincoln's party, had found God and a local culture consistent with what appears 
to be his personal one. 

Right-wing populism and U.S. foreign policy 

As competitive symbols, "multilateralism" and "unilateralism" 
than disagreement about the instrumental value to the national 

34 Tom J. Farer 

intergovernmental institutions and international law. They suggest the collision 
of identities and deep cultural attitudes about the use of force, the extent of 
individual and collective moral responsibilities, the limits of tolerance and the 
hierarchy of virtue, and faith versus reason. They stand on opposite sides of the 
abyss that separates fundamentalist from cosmopolitan Protestantism. 27 

Populism is a movement that seeks to mobilize masses among the middle- 
and lower-middle income peoples. 28 Left populism mobilizes largely on the 
basis of class resentments stemming from a material inequality. Right populism 
emphasizes cultural or racial resentments. However, the two can merge where a 
minority enjoys disproportionate affluence or where a segment of the upper 
class can be identified with the rebellious struggles of a traditionally despised 
minority. As the experience of European fascism suggests, right-wing populism 
normally becomes powerful only when its entrepreneurs can form a strategic 
alliance with portions of the upper classes, a scenario familiar to every student 
of Adolf Hitler's rise to power. 29 

We do not, however, need to look abroad. A coalition of the black and white 
poor at the turn of the twentieth century would have overthrown the system of 
upper-class rule and working-class poverty. If at that point federal power had 
been deployed to enforce the black population's constitutional right to vote, 
such a coalition might have coalesced. Instead, political entrepreneurs in most 
states mobilized white voters in defense of racial hierarchy and the status quo. 30 

Obviously the uses and character of right-wing populism evolved, so that in 
the second half of the twentieth century it was far more complex than it had 
been in the south at the turn of that century. But it retains its inherent character 
in domestic politics as a political strategy to bond people of modest means with 
very rich people and corporate managers who, by virtue of possessing great eco- 
nomic power, have material interests that conflict with those of their lower-class 
partners. There needs to be a cultural bond, an "other" or "others" against 
whom to relate. In an earlier era, African-Americans and Jews were prominent 
among the perceived "others." 51 The former still play that role to varying 
degrees in some parts of the country, although in others they have been largely, 
if not entirely, phased out. The latter have been almost uniformly released from 
the realm of the "other" and admitted wholesale to the imagined community of 
true Americans. If "Jewish bankers" no longer serve as "the other" in the nega- 
tive pantheon of populism, who has replaced them? 

The new "other" has less well-defined features. It is all those who do not 
respect the national tradition of virile religiosity, who have pushed prayer from 
the public schools and replaced it with sex education, who sully the immaculate 
view of U.S. history, who take notice of slums in the City on the Hill, who 
would take from ordinary citizens their right to bear arms and to dispense Old 
Testament justice in the form of capital punishment, and who question the 
proposition that success is a function of virtue not luck. 

The "other" is liberal, urbane, financially comfortable, cosmopolitan, secular, 
and unpatriotic in the sense of being unappreciative of the splendid singularity 
of America, uneasy with the rituals of patriotism, ready to expend national trea- 

Domestic politics, human rights, and U.S. foreign policy 35 

sure on behalf of obscure peoples in remote places, and eager to subject national 
sovereignty to rules made by and institutions run by other peoples, including 
enemies of the U.S. way of life.' 12 Coincidentally, he or she worries about 
inequality in income and wealth and does not believe that markets are self- 
policing or can produce all necessary public goods. 33 

Like many caricatures, this clustering and generalizing of characteristics is 
not wholly unconnected to reality. People who worry about inequality and the 
environment, who believe in the careful monitoring of private markets by public 
institutions, who favor restricting matters of faith largely to the private sphere, 
and who find much to condemn in U.S. history tend also to be the people who 
favor multilateralism. And they are the people who tend to staff and support the 
principal human rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and to pressure 
the U.S. government to use statecraft in defense of human rights around the 

The majority resides at multiple points on a continuum between irreducible 
hostility to every restraint on U.S. power and theological support for the U.N. 
and the values in its Charter. Otherwise, the national Democratic Party would 
not have won an election in the last 50 years, or it would be entirely indistin- 
guishable in its platform from the Republicans. Since the 1970s, polling data 
has regularly provided evidence of a large majority sympathetic to U.S. partici- 
pation in the U.N. and at least a mild multilateralist orientation. 35 But public 
opinion is volatile. For months prior to the invasion of Iraq, a majority of 
Americans favored war only with U.N. approval. 36 By the eve of the invasion, 
the majority endorsed invasion irrespective of a legitimizing resolution. 37 

In a political system with multiple points for the insertion of influence, where 
money is trumps and legislative power widely dispersed, impassioned minorities 
can often defeat a diffuse majority's mild policy preferences. To understand how 
the character of domestic politics can influence the outcome of policy conflicts 
within the foreign policy elite over multilateral versus unilateral engagement, 
one therefore needs to recognize the political importance of the minority that 
understands itself as the conservators of traditional values and the opposite of 
the cosmopolitan "other." It is naturally sympathetic to foreign policy argu- 
ments couched in Manichaean terms, dismissive of the views of other countries, 
and in favor of coercive diplomacy 38 It is, however, important to recall that 
those who form the populist right wing have not traditionally favored overseas 
adventures. Like the majority of Americans in the 1930s, they could not be 
aroused to support preventive action against Hitler or the Japanese until the 
attack on Pearl Harbor and Germany's ensuing declaration of war. 39 Certainly 
in the past their instincts and general convictions would seem to have placed 
them in the paleo-conservative more than the global engagers' camp. 

There is a second caveat when trying to assess the domestic political arena in 
which advocates of multilateral policies compete with unilateralists. Some of the 
convictions that resonate powerfully with the populist right also engage more 
cosmopolitan types. The "City on the Hill" is an image that precedes by two 
3 the country's founding and has never been restricted to provincial 

36 Tom J. Farer 

constituencies. 40 Many Americans far removed from the Moral Majority also 
are receptive to the view that there are evil people who understand only the 
language of force and who mean to do us harm for crimes of which we are 
innocent or for acts which in our judgment are not crimes at all. 

Certain enduring features of our history and society help to illuminate the 
struggle between elites over how the United States should engage globally. One 
is religiosity. Periodic surveys of the intensity of religious sentiment in the main 
industrial democracies reveal a continuum, with the U.S. almost alone at one 
end and Japan at the other with European states much closer to Japan. 41 
Intense monotheistic religious beliefs predispose adherents to see the world in 
stark Manichaean terms. The Calvinist version of Christianity, the country's 
dominant monotheism, which deeply insinuated itself into U.S. culture at the 
very outset of our national adventure, predisposes adherents to see success, 
national as well as personal, as a sign of divine will. 42 

A second key background feature is the failure of the working and intellec- 
tual classes to bond ideologically. 43 Christian democracy, with its natural 
cosmopolitanism and communitarianism, as well as its emphasis on responsibil- 
ity of the successful for the poor of the community, also failed to take root here. 
The language of reform has been liberalism with its emphasis on restraining 
power for the benefit of the striving meritorious individual. 

The third background feature, the constitutional culture, reinforces a cultural 
emphasis on thi rights and a suspicion of governmental power except 

where it is employed in the name of national security against other, less morally 
inspired communities. 44 The constitutional culture has provided a core sense of 
national identity just as intense, and hence potent, as the sense of being a blood 
community, literally an extended family, which is characteristic of strongly 
ilistic states. 

A fourth background feature, intimately connected to the ones enumerated, 
is the ideological supremacy of laissez-faire capitalism. The mental soil of the 
U.S. is far more receptive than its European counterpart to a politics of either 
isolation or episodic self-assertion in foreign policy and acquisitive individualism 
in the domestic realm. At the same time, the U.S. is less receptive to a cos- 
mopolitan foreign policy and a domestic one that champions greater equality of 
results or special benefits for historically disadvantaged groups. 45 In politics, 
therefore, liberal cosmopolitans swim a bit against the tide, and their projects 
are in general limited by a need to use the dominant discourse to overcome cul- 
tural resistance. 

This account of the cultural and ideological background of contemporary 
U.S. politics simplifies a more complex or ambiguous reality, certainly in com- 
parison with Europe before World War II. Prewar European conservatism, at 
least on the continent, was hierarchical in its view of the good society, qualified 
in its commitment to majority rule, and racially and ethnically intolerant. 46 It 
valued faith and tradition over utilitarian reason and extolled the interests of the 
state in foreign policy, regarding war, therefore, as an inevitable instrument of 
statecraft, and imperialism as the natural condition of the world. 47 Whatever 

Domestic politics, human rights, and U.S. foreign policy 37 

their differences, reformist liberals and social democrats were largely united in 
rejecting everything that conservatives affirmed. In the wake of World War II, 
the right cut loose from its ideological moorings and moved toward the center 
where it now encounters a left with whom it largely shares a rational, secular, 
cosmopolitan, and moderately communitarian outlook. 48 

Since the defeat of the South in the Civil War, the division between left and 
right never has had the same clarity in the U.S. that marked prewar Europe. 
Liberal individualism has been the principal normative idiom of the political 
leaders of both major parties.* 9 Each has evoked utilitarian instrumentalism to 
defend its favored domestic policies and has defended foreign policy with a mix 
of idealism and national self-interest. To be sure, the wealthy did in general resist 
virulently the effort to soften the rough edges of corporate capitalism and to 
provide a modest amount of income security for the white working class. 50 But 
when, after 20 years of Democratic rule, the Republicans again captured the 
White House in 1952, the party made its peace with the regulatory and social 
security structures erected during the era of reform. And so on the eve of war in 
Vietnam, sociologist Daniel Bell pointed to the end of ideological conflict in the 
U.S. and the Western world more generally. 51 What remained were technocratic 
differences of opinion over incremental adjustments in a consensus-based, mod- 
erately regulated capitalist economy. 

But that view was a bit myopic. A convergence took place within the politi- 
cal, social, and economic elite and in presidential behavior, since presidents had 
to appeal to and at least appear to come from the broad centrist majority. But 
Bell saw fuzzily, if at all, the half-slumbering conservative minority and the sub- 
stratum of conservative feeling that had varying degrees of resonance in the 
wider electorate. This view ignored power sources that could be activated by 
contingent events and tectonic adjustments in social and economic conditions 
and then employed by ambitious political entrepreneurs in the name of defend- 
ing authentic U.S. values against the "other." Vietnam was the main event, a 
war not of destiny but of choice. The accelerating struggle for African-American 
civil rights had more the character of a tectonic adjustment to accelerating pres- 
sure in deep societal structures. 

The coincidence of a sanguinary war of choice and a predestined struggle by 
a substantial minority to complete its emancipation helped precipitate a decade 
of disorder and polarization. They were not, however, the only factors at work. 
Economic growth and changes in the location and composition of industrial 
and commercial activity and corresponding changes in transportation networks 
and planning policies were driving internal migration from small rural commu- 
nities to sprawling suburbs. Hence people with traditional religious and moral 
views and uncomplicated iconographic appreciation of the U.S. past encoun- 
tered public-school systems staffed on the whole by persons with more secular, 
morally permissive, and iconoclastic world views. 52 Decisions of the federal 
courts in favor of strict separation of church and state in education, as in the 
public sector more generally, also were disturbing. 55 

The long-growing strength of secular and utilitarian views in the broader 

38 Tom J. Farer 

society and a coincident relaxation of traditional moral perspectives undoubt- 
edly were accelerated by the breakup of traditional families and communities 
and the vast expansion of higher education after World War 11. The Supreme 
Court's decision in Rowe v. Wade and the gradual extension of the civil rights 
movement to include homosexuals further aggravated the traditionalists' sense 
of being under siege. 

Meanwhile, parts of the population with relatively more relaxed views about 
morality and culture had their own sources of angst. One was the disorder in 
the universities that occasionally spread into the streets with its quasi- 
revolutionary rhetoric. A second was the integration of public schools. And a 
third was the spread of violent crime beyond its traditional locus in the precincts 
of the poor. 

The rise of neo-conservatism 

The wider electorate sets limits to and is arguably the ultimate arbiter of dis- 
putes among insiders over foreign policy issues, but it does not define them. In 
all countries that is the work of a relative few. And while — at least in a demo- 
cratic country — that few has a more or less vital connection to the wider society, 
elites have their own histories. 

In the face of the near-insurrectionist style of some student protests and the 
rise and spread of anomic social violence, the bulk of the intellectual class 
remained liberal-to-social democratic in its politics. But under the flag of "neo- 
conservatism," a minority seceded. 54 They were alienated by what struck them 
as an acute threat to traditional liberal politics — incrementalism, compromise, 
and technocratic reform. A credible if wildly exaggerated assault on liberal 
values traditionally construed was not, however, the only factor encouraging 
ideological secession from the main body of the intellectual class. Within that 
class there were fault lines dating from the early Cold War. For most of the 
century intellectuals had had a distinctly leftist tilt in comparison to the rest of 
U.S. society. 55 By the 1960s, however, the affluence and individual freedom 
manifest in the developed capitalist states in contrast to the disjunction between 
Marxist visions and reality in the Soviet Union had persuaded many intellectu- 
als that the Soviet dystopia stemmed not from the peculiarities of Russian 
history or the accident of bad leaders but rather from the very nature of the 
sociopolitical model implicit in Marxism and actualized in the Leninism prac- 
ticed by states. 36 

What followed among that cluster of leftists moving right was a correspond- 
ing embrace of capitalist development and generalized hostility not only to 
Marxist regimes but to movements that identified themselves as Marxist in their 
inspiration, or advocated a state-dominated economy, or received assistance 
from Marxist regimes. They became, in short, enemies of revolutionary move- 
ments in principle, as most famously articulated by Jeane Kirkpatrick. 57 
Revolutionary regimes were totalitarian in principle and thus could not evolve 
in a democratic direction, while authoritarian governments of the right did have 

Domestic politics, human rights, and U.S. foreign policy 39 

a democratic potential. By contrast, the bulk of liberal-to-leftist intellectuals felt 
that in developing countries with extreme and embedded inequalities sustained 
by remorseless repression, virtually any movemenl thai challenged the status 
quo was worthy of conditional encouragement. Moreover, the popular mobi- 
lization encouraged by revolutionary movements and, following their victory, a 
radical change in property relationships carried out by a strong state were nec- 
essary preconditions for the evolution of freer and fairer societies. 

Ethnic identities and interests also played a role in the emergence of neo- 
conservatism, helping to crystallize divisions over foreign and domestic policy. 
Americans of Jewish extraction had played (as they continue to play) a promi- 
nent role in every dimension of the country's intellectual and artistic life and 
also in the struggle for civil rights and civil liberties. In domestic conflicts, Jews 
and African- Americans were the main elements of the coalition battling to com- 
plete the emancipation announced almost a century earlier, and provided many 
of its leaders. 58 Civil rights legislation had demolished the formal and also the 
most palpable de facto barriers to upward social movement. The victory of the 
civil rights coalition opened doors through which the talented and well- 
prepared could pass. That high percentage of the Jewish minority that was 
university educated or already in the middle-to-upper classes surged through. 
African-American university graduates also benefited, but a large number could 
not get through the newly opened doors or could do so only with some form of 
assistance. 59 For many, poverty replaced race as the principal barrier to social 

One result for relations between Jews and African-Americans was erosion of 
the common interests which, along with liberal values, had bonded their coali- 
tion. Many African-American leaders, accurately invoking a historical 
experience comparable in its trauma only to that of Native Americans, began 
calling for affirmative action by the state and by large private entities like cor- 
porations and universities to shrink the existing barriers and to compensate for 
the traumatic legacy. 60 Affirmative action could take quite a variety of forms 
but, to the extent that it was construed to mean race-based preferential access 
to jobs and opportunities like seats in selective universities or positions in public 
service and the professions, it jammed up against the interests of those ethnic 
groups, like Jews, who had broken discriminatory barriers in part by excelling 
in the tests of merit devised by the old White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) 
majority. Despite this emerging conflict, many Jewish intellectuals supported 
affirmative action. But for some among them, it contributed to the confluence 
of events and issues pushing them to the right.'' 1 

Perhaps hastening that move was a coincident movement within a part of 
the African-American community of what is sometimes called "nationalism," a 
felt need to assert a distinctive identity and to build ethnically homogeneous 
social and political action organizations. At one point, a small minority within 
one of the established civil rights organizations — the Student Nonviolence 
Coordination Committee (SNCC) — even considered the exclusion of whites, 
which to a considerable extent meant excluding Jews. 62 For some Jews who had 

40 Tom J. Farer 

seen themselves as champions of black interests, the increased edginess in rela- 
tions between the two groups and more generally between black and white 
liberals was disillusioning. 63 

Two other developments encouraged the rightward float of a portion of the 
Jewish intelligentsia. One was increasing friction between the communities at 
their socioeconomic bases. 64 The second was growing identification of the 
African-American intelligentsia with the views and interests of the Third World, 
particularly with respect to the issue of "national liberation" for the peoples who 
had been colonized. 65 By the 1970s most colonial territories had become sover- 
eign states and U.N. members. The refusal by the U.S. and a number of its 
European allies to reduce their economic relations with South Africa, and a 
U.S. style of diplomacy that seemed dismissive of the Third World generally, 61 ' 
led to polarization at the world organization. 

One notorious outcome was 1975 General Assembly Resolution 3379 equat- 
ing Zionism with racism. U.S. Permanent Representative Patrick Moynihan 
voiced the outrage of the U.S. Jewish community (and, to be sure, many 
others) 67 and committed himself to confronting the Third World on this and 
every other issue construed as inimical to U.S. interests and values, a position 
that added to the polarization at the U.N. and would later help catapult him 
into the Senate. 68 

Hostility by the Third World majority in the General Assembly to Israeli 
policy or, as many saw it, to Israel itself and to U.S. interests and values more 
generally induced a reciprocal hostility toward the UN. that spread beyond the 
confines of the far right. It became one of the distinguishing features of neo- 
conservatives and further distanced them from African-American leaders. 69 The 
latter did not endorse the Zionism-as-racism position, but at least some could 
not help feeling a certain sense of identity with Palestinians living without polit- 
ical rights and without even well-protected civil rights in the territories occupied 
by Israel in 1967. 70 They naturally sympathized with whomever sought to over- 
turn white racist rule in South Africa, and felt some affinity with those 
demanding a fairer economic deal for poor countries and some form of redress 
for past exploitation. 71 A General Assembly in which African states formed the 
largest bloc meant that the African- American intelligentsia could not in general 
share the hostility toward the UN. present among their conservative Jewish 
counterparts, particularly among those moving right for other reasons as well. 

In addition, there were two other exacerbating factors specifically related to 
events in the Middle East. One stemmed from choices Israel made following its 
victory in the 1967 war. The government took the fateful decision to annex east 
Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as well as to suppress political 
activities in other territories and to begin planting Jewish settlements in them. 72 
The seemingly permanent denial of political and many civil rights to the popu- 
lation of these territories was so in conflict with liberal democratic values that it 
was bound to threaten the hitherto broad base of support for Israel among 
liberal elites in the West. 

The 1973 war also helped, however indirectly, to shape the neo-conservative 

Domestic politics, human rights, and U.S. foreign policy 41 

project. After the easy triumph of 1967, the early days of the 1973 war were 
frightening as Israeli forces suffered serious casualties and ultimately needed 
rapid resupply from the United States. Although the war ended in another 
defeat for the Arabs, it restored the sense of vulnerability that the triumph of 
1967 had sharply reduced. In addition, the unprecedented show of Arab unity 
in withholding oil from the market, not solely to benefit oil-producing states but 
also to advance political ends, conveyed a message of Israeli and Western vul- 
nerability. Was there not a danger of Western countries forcing Israel to 
accommodate Arab demands, if the backing for Israel was only sentimental or 
moral? However, if Israel could appear as a strategic partner, a protector of 
Western or at least U.S. interests in the Middle East, Israel would be safer. Is it 
merely coincidental that emphasis on Israel's strategic value and disparagement 
of Arab regimes is a prominent feature of the : 

Traditional conservative realists and neo- 
conservatives: conflict and reconciliation 

Henry Kissinger and James Baker — foreign policy stalwarts in the administra- 
tions of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush 
— epitomize the realist conservative. For them, the purpose of statecraft is to 
advance U.S. power and protect material interests in a dangerously competitive 
and structurally anarchic world; the promotion of democracy and the defense of 
human rights is incidental. 73 One result of this world view is a readiness to strike 
deals with regimes seemingly of any ideological stripe or level of brutality in the 
treatment of their own people so long as those deals appear to advance national 
interests. Another is a certain measure of restraint in the exercise of power 
because the United States should not slay dragons that have no capacity or 
incentive to threaten either the country or its allies. 74 

Jeane Kirkpatrick, Ronald Reagan's first Ambassador to the United Nations, 
and Elliot Abrams, who became Assistant Secretary of State for human rights 
and humanitarian affairs early in the Reagan administration, epitomize the 
foreign policy views of neo-conservatives. For them, the realpolitik statecraft of 
Kissinger and Baker is too limited in its goals and too restrained in its means. 
The United States, for them, is not simply a great power but also a cluster of 
ideals. And by a marvelous, even divine, coincidence, pursuit of those ideals can 
only enhance the country's power, wealth, and security. In praising Reagan as 
the defender of liberal values, Kirkpatrick enunciated the core vision of the neo- 
conservative. 75 

"Liberal" was not, however, a description that Reagan's first Secretary of 
State, General Alexander Haig, would have welcomed. Underscoring the differ- 
ences between the defeated Democratic administration of Jimmy Carter and 
Reagan's, Haig announced that human rights was off the agenda. 76 Suiting 
deed to word, he purged from the diplomatic corps those ambassadors most 
closely identified with Carter's human rights policies. 

This remained the declared position of the administration until, still early in 

42 Tom J. Farer 

his first term, President Reagan accepted Secretary of State Haig's resignation. 
Shortly thereafter, Elliot Abrams became Assistant Secretary. His accession 
roughly coincided with a sea change in administration rhetoric. Until Haig left, 
there was dissonance between the Reaganite characterization of the relationship 
with the Soviet Union — a struggle between the free world and the "evil 
empire" — and hostility to Carter's human rights legacy. After Haig, the rhetoric 
segued into harmony by equating the defense of human rights with the promo- 
tion of democracy defined narrowly in terms of elections that were not grossly 
fraudulent. 77 This was a conspicuous departure from Carter administration 
policy that had been deeply concerned with torture and summary execution in 
the Third World even when perpetrated by such dependable U.S. clients as 
right-wing military governments in Latin America. 78 

The post-Haig State Department responded by minimizing, denying, or 
rationalizing delinquencies and urging elections while opposing negotiated 
power-sharing arrangements in cases where massive human rights violations 
were entangled with civil wars between military governments and left-wing 
guerrillas. 79 Thus policy incorporated the view announced by Kirkpatrick 
before the administration assumed office, namely a categorical hostility to 
regimes and movements of the left. 

After Haig's departure, latent tensions between realists and neo-conservatives 
rarely surfaced conspicuously. Whatever the differences in motives — between 
the conservative aim of maintaining unchallenged U.S. hegemony in the 
western hemisphere and the additional neo-conservative one of maintaining ide- 
ological purity by pulverizing left-wing authoritarian regimes — both supported 
ruthless right-wing regimes in El Salvador and Guatemala and efforts to over- 
throw a leftist one in Nicaragua. Conflicts over relations with Moscow lost their 
edge once Mikhail Gorbachev assumed office and initiated multi-faceted poli- 
cies that would, with asic ic Moscow's empire and then the 
Soviet Union itself. But once George HW. Bush took office and put James 
Baker in charge of foreign policy, discord re-emerged, particularly over the 
failure to use the occasion of the first Gulf war to eliminate Saddam Hussein 
and to engineer a viable settlement of the Arab-Israeli dispute. 80 Modest pres- 
sure on Israel for concessions to Palestinian nationalism, including for the first 
time in years a hint of material sanctions, evoked a furious assault from neo- 
conservatives even to the point of implying that Baker was a hidden 
anti-Semite. 81 

Beyond factional conflict over particular issues lay the broader difference of 
world views. In a seminal statement of neo-conservative goals for the post-Cold 
War era, Charles Krauthammer caught the policy community's eye with an 
article calling for full exploitation of the "unipolar moment." 82 Concretely the 
U.S. was to employ its unrivaled power to shape a world reflective of American 
values, elected governments, and free markets. Neither the cautious democracy- 
promoting efforts of realists nor their strategy of positive engagement with the 
nominally communist regime in China came close to satisfying this vision. And 
s noisily nursed their dissatisfactions, seemingly as dis- 

Domestic politics, human rights, and U.S. foreign policy 43 

appointed as right-wing Christian groups with an administration so plainly 
indifferent to the excited ambitions and cultural sensibilities of both factions. si 

Whatever their sour disappointment with the first President Bush, it was as 
nothing to the fury and contempt evoked by William Jefferson Clinton, the 
incarnation of the detested countercultural life-style, and his First Lady, a femi- 
nist icon. Hardly friends of Clinton's easy virtue and broad tolerance, the 
neo-conservatives were even more enraged by the dissipation of U.S. oppor- 
tunity and power. Realist conservatives could make common cause with 
neo-conservatives and the religious right, their sometime allies in the broad 
lition, because they disliked Clinton's stance on humanitarian 
i and state-building. 

To the limited extent that the 2000 presidential campaign debates engaged 
foreign policy, George W. Bush sounded the themes of the realists. On his 
watch, U.S. troops would be used as soldiers, not as humanitarian hand- 
holders. 84 He would not waste the U.S.'s human and material resources on 
errant adventures in nation-building or to rescue feckless peoples. Asked what 
he would have done had he been faced with the Rwandan genocide, he replied 
that he would have encouraged U.N. action but not sent U.S. troops. 85 Presum- 
ably to propitiate the Jesse Helms wing of his own party, he also criticized 
placing American forces under U.N. command, as had happened briefly in 
Somalia, a position Clinton himself seemed to have adopted after October 
1993. 86 Beyond that, Bush actually mirrored Clinton by deploring his father's 
accommodationist behavior toward China and intimated that he would shift to 
a much cooler tone. 87 In brief, nothing in the rhetoric of George W. Bush's 
campaign or in his selection of two apparently realist conservatives, Colin 
Powell and Condoleezza Rice, to be his top foreign policy advisers augured a 
major change in foreign policy. Still, given the number of neo-conservatives 
who were slated for important posts, the role of the Christian right (now in close 
alliance with the neo-conservatives), the volatility of the Middle East, and the 
existence of Al Qaeda with its expressed determination to drive the U.S. out of 
the Middle East, it would not have taken clairvoyance to imagine circumstances 
that would open the door for a quite dramatic policy departure. 

From the inauguration in January 200 1 until September 1 1 , 200 1 , the Bush 
administration complied roughly with the expectations that the President had 
cultivated while he was a candidate. Even his curt dismissals of U.S. participa- 
tion in international treaty regimes like Kyoto, the ICC, and the supplemental 
enforcement protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention were hardly at 
odds with his general approach to national security policy. Then the attacks on 
the World Trade Center and the Pentagon opened a world of risk previously 
envisioned only by some of the national security cognoscenti. Neo-conservatives 
alone had a grand strategy of response, one that in its very ambition and vision 
corresponded to the shock and fury of the U.S. public and to its congenital 
sense that wars should end in glorious, transformative victory. 

44 Tom J. Farer 

The neo-conservative project 

Hegemony, as neo-conservatives argued in the 1 990s, is not the mere possession 
of dominating power, but also the will to use it on behalf of a coherent project. 
In the Clinton years, hegemony was only latent. The catastrophe of September 
2001 created the circumstances in which it could be made real. 

Although there is not a single comprehensive statement of the neo- 
conservative project and its premises, out of the particular policies advocated by 
its high priests and house organs, as well as the thicket of argument surrounding 
them, project and premises materialize. 88 Having won the Third World War, 
conventionally called the "Cold War" although it had many hot incidents, we 
are now by dint of circumstance launched into a fourth. Like the second and 
third ones, it stems from a conflict of values and not of mere interests. It is a 
war between believers in free peoples and markets, on the one hand, and infi- 
dels, on the other; it is a war between democratic capitalism and its enemies. 
The former is expanding, not at the end of a bayonet but in response to the 
desire of people everywhere to receive it or at least its blessings. It expands, in 
other words, by pull and not push. And that expansion is coterminous with the 
expansion of individual freedom. 

The expansion coincidentally threatens, where it does not immediately 
demolish, the practices, beliefs, and institutions that thrive only where freedom 
is alien and can be made to remain so. As the financial and cultural base of the 
expansion (sometimes labeled "globalization"), the U.S. is the inevitable target 
for all those who, being threatened, resist. And since globalization is not a 
public policy but the summation of millions of private initiatives, the U.S. gov- 
ernment cannot erase the bull's-eye from the nation's flank by any policy other 
than attempting to remake the country in the image of its enemies, a closed 
society. For political reasons, the government could not do that; for moral ones, 
it should not try even if the political obstacles were to diminish. 

So war is our fate. A conventional war would be a minor affair for a country 
with such military power. But in the epoch of globalization, we must contend 
with asymmetrical war. Since the enemies of the open society cannot stand up 
to our armies, they turn to such soft targets as civilians and the infrastructure 
that supports them. Here our enemies find vast vulnerabilities springing from 
the very nature of our open society and the delicate systems of communication 
and movement and energy generation that sustain quotidian life. The destruc- 
tion of the World Trade Center illustrated the lethal potential of asymmetrical 
war even when waged without benefit of weapons of mass destruction. With 
unconventional weapons in the mix, images of unspeakable catastrophe are 

As the U.S. is the center of expanding liberal capitalist democracy, the 
Islamic world, particularly its Arab sector, is the center of violent opposition 
precisely because the dynamism, pluralism, and instrumental rationalism of 
liberal capitalism challenge deeply rooted social arrangements. And this chal- 
lenge occurs against a backdrop of nearly a millennium of armed conflict 

Domestic politics, human rights, and U.S. foreign policy 45 

between the West and the various Islamic polities on the southern side of the 
Mediterranean and, in recent centuries, a succession of devastating military 
defeats and political humiliations for the latter. Added to this dangerous mix is a 
strain of sacrificial violence in contemporary, if not original, Islamic thought 
which leads to the suicide bomber. 

What, then, is to be done? A first step is to seek out and destroy immediate 
threats and demonstrate that U.S. power is now driven by an implacable will 
and a universal capacity to revenge every injury by inflicting greater ones. Being 
hated is not good; being hated without being at the same time feared is far 
worse. In destroying the Taliban regime and killing or incarcerating various Al 
Qaeda members, the first step was taken. Going afi .ussein also has 

had demonstrative value. For the Taliban were barely a regime, virtually unrec- 
ognized and not fully in control of the country they misruled. Destroying the 
long-established regime in Baghdad, one not credibly connected to Septem- 
ber 1 1, was a dramatic expansion of the anti-terrorist project, calculated to be a 
qualitatively more potent demonstration of Washington's will and power. 

If one is to take neo-conservatives at their word, however, the overthrow of 
Saddam Hussein also created the conditions for installing a capitalist democracy 
in the once most formidable and technologically advanced country in the Arab 
world. 89 This too would be done in part for its hopefully contagious effects on 
the surrounding Arab states. This hope flows from a key, if not always clearly 
declared, premise of neo-conservative grand strategy: given the opportunity, 
ordinary people will prove to be Homo economicus, rational maximizers of their 
material well-being. To serve its interests and theirs, the United States should 
provide the opportunity, as it provides the quintessential model: strict limits on 
state power, the rule of law incluc ncy of the public realm, an inde- 

pendent judiciary, extensive rights to private property associated with 
constitutional limits on the confiscatory power of the state, and free elections to 
sustain the rest. 

The individual, being protected from depredations of the state, is thereby lib- 
erated to pursue material well-being. The ethic of consumption will trump all 
other ends. An electorate of economic strivers will disown projects that con- 
script their wealth; they will find dignity and meaning in the struggle to produce 
and sufficient pleasure in the satisfaction of their appetites. That is why liberal 
democracies do not war with each other. To be sure, fanatics immune to the 
ethic of material consumption will not altogether disappear. But they will no 
longer be able to multiply themselves so easily. And liberal democratic govern- 
ments, driven by the coercive power of elections to mirror the interests of their 
electors, will cooperate with the U.S. to extirpate fanatics. 

Neo-conservatives do not rely exclusively on a contagion of democracy 
springing from the demonstration factor of Iraq. The evidence of freedom, 
peace, and affluence in Iraq will weaken from within the stagnant autocracies of 
surrounding Arab states like Syria and Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile the U.S., with 
as many of its industrialized allies as it can muster, will encourage them with 
positive and negative incentives to manage a 

46 Tom J. Farer 

benefit of the Arab people in general and for ours. And for Israel's too because 
citizens of open societies will no longer have grounds to rage at their fate — rage 
which today's Arab governments deflect to Israel first and then to the United 
States. 90 

After September ll's demonstration of U.S. vulnerability to asymmetrical 
warfare, this vision, to the extent that it is credible, could draw support from 
traditional conservatives concerned primarily with maximizing the country's 
security and wealth, as well as those who a priori equate U.S. and Israeli security 
interests. Should it not appeal as well to human rights activists and to the wider 
universe of liberals and social democrats? Can one believe in the universality of 
human rights and not embrace a strategy that purports to merge realism and 
idealism in the cause of freedom? Apparently so. Most of the established organs 
and prominent advocates of liberalism and social democracy and most of the 
leading figures and institutions in the international human rights world have 
reacted along a spectrum ranging from intense skepticism through selective crit- 
icism to comprehensive hostility toward the Bush administration's grand 
strategy. 91 

Grounds for doubt: a human rights perspective 

Is the skepticism a merely visceral response to the conservative messenger? Or 
are there reasoned grounds, rooted in liberal values and the deep essence of 
human rights, for rejecting this message? Actually, taking the messenger's iden- 
tity into account is entirely reasonable, part of the seasoned wisdom of everyday 
life. We do not entrust things that we value except to persons who have created 
grounds for trust. And there are essentially two reasons why we trust people. 
One is that they have a record of fulfilling their commitments, and the other is 
that we have common values. The latter is particularly important when the 
mission we are called upon to entrust to the messenger has as its very purpose 
the advancement of our values. 

If our end is the broader realization of human rights, there are substantial 
reasons to distrust the right-wing executors of contemporary foreign policy. The 
first is that they are what they claim to be, namely conservatives. One of the 
defining characteristics of conservative American elites is hostility to the use of 
government to moderate inequality both by positive measures and by restrain- 
ing the rich from leveraging their social and economic advantages in order to 
augment them. Thus they are ideologically disabled from pressing for exactly 
the kinds of change required in most developing countries to lend substance to 
democratic forms and to create societies in which human rights can advance. 
Ideological choices, like conceptions of the national interest, are not accidental. 
They are related to a core sensibility, to one's capacity or incapacity to experi- 
ence vicariously the agony of ordinary people in far-off places. They relate, in 
other words, to the breadth of one's moral imagination. As noted above, when 
George W. Bush sought the presidency, he disowned use of the coercive power 
of the U.S. where the only potential gain in a given case would be protection of 

Domestic politics, human rights, and U.S. foreign policy 47 

human rights. This was also the position of his national security adviser. 92 
Moreover, his Secretary of Defense had served as special envoy to Saddam 
Hussein when the U.S. was assisting the monster in his frantic attempts to 
prevent his aggression against Iran from turning into a military debacle. 93 
During this period Saddam Hussein employed chemical weapons against both 
the Iranians and the K .lion of Iraq without in any way compro- 

mising Washington's support for his regime. 

Many senior members of the current administration served in the earlier 
Bush administration when it stood idly by as Yugoslavia disintegrated and 
Serbia initiated mayhem in Croatia and Bosnia. To be fair, they do not have 
more to answer for morally than the Clinton administration, which also wrung 
its hands as Sic :vic and his colleagues murdered their way around 

the Balkans and as Rwanda's slow-motion genocide took place. 94 But Clinton 
never promised us a no-holds-barred crusade for liberal democracy and did not 
ask the country to entrust him with wartime power to spread the American 
Way 95 

One could, moreover, argue that, if we are going to ground skepticism on 
past words and performance, we need to disaggregate realist conservatives like 
Rumsfeld and Rice from neo-conservatives like Deputy Secretary of Defense 
Paul Wolfowitz or the National Security Council's Elliot Abrams, or pundits like 
Charles Krauthammer. 96 Even if it is hard to credit the traditionalists with an 
epiphany in September 2001, have the neo-conservatives not been at least 
rhetorically consistent? Indeed, is not a declared commitment to Wilsonianism 
with fixed bayonets a defining feature of neo-conservatism? 97 Thus the problem 
seems less one of the messenger's sincerity than it is of the humanitarian impli- 
cations of the message itself. 

A crusade for democracy, even full-blown liberal democracy, overlaps but is 
not synonymous with a crusade for human rights. Moral criteria for evaluating 
the exercise of power stretch into the remote past. 98 So does the idea of possess- 
ing rights in relationship to power holders. But the idea of rights held in 
common not just by all members of the same class, profession, guild, race, reli- 
gion, or nation, but by every human being simply by virtue of being human, is a 
modern idea. And just as it is not synonymous with liberal democracy, it is not 
synonymous with general human welfare. 

A common conception of human rights is that they are categorical claims on 
human beings and institutions, primarily on governments to act or refrain from 
acting in ways injurious to the exercise or experience of the right. 99 At least the 
so-called first generation of civil and political rights that have evoked the widest 
consensus about their imperative quality are focused on the individual, not the 
wider community. More than that, they are claims that the community cannot 
trump or be subordinate to some presumed general good which, while causing 
injury to a few, enhances the welfare of the many. 

Actually, even in the case of civil and political rights, this is something of an 
overstatement in the sense that during periods of emergency the community for 
its collective welfare can temporarily suspend the great majority of rights. 100 

48 Tom J. Farer 

Many national constitutions so provide, as does the International Covenant on 
Civil and Political Rights. 101 But some rights cannot be abrogated under any 
circumstances. Among them are the right to life, not to be tortured, and not to 
be punished except as a result of a finding of guilt after a fair legal process. 102 It 
is conceivable that a good-faith effort to implant liberal democracy throughout 
the Middle East and in other areas where it is largely absent, an effort carried 
out in part by war, armed subversion, assassination, and other instruments of 
coercive statecraft, might in the long course of history enhance human well- 
being beyond anything that could be achieved through such nonviolent means 
as education, economic incentives, financial and technical assistance to democ- 
ts, and improving the welfare consequences of democracy so as 

But even if we could be certain that human welfare would in the long term 
be better served by violent statecraft, if one were committed to the view that 
human rights are trumps, then one might still oppose a crusade for democracy. 
Taking of innocent lives is among the probable features of a violent crusade for 
whatever end. One particularly awful instance occurred during the invasion of 
Iraq, when a missile flying off course struck an apartment complex, wiping out 
a child's immediate family, ripping off his arms, and crisping his body. 103 Since 
civilians were not targeted — on the contrary it appears that the U.S. military 
made an unusual effort to minimize civilian casualties 104 — this child's horror 
was entirely within the boundaries of the humanitarian laws of war. 105 More- 
over, given the Security Council resolutions violated by Saddam's regime, its 
chronic violations of human rights, and the loss of life arising from Iraq's 
aggressions against Iran and Kuwait, a not entirely implausible just-war argu- 
ment could be made in favor of the U.S. -led invasion. 106 That being so, the 
just-war tradition would absolve the U.S. and its allies from guilt with regard to 
civilian deaths and injuries, since serious efforts were made to avoid (hem. 

Nevertheless, pain and death inflicted predictably, albeit unintentionally, on 
the innocent rubs against the grain of human rights in any war of choice rather 
than self-defense. And that would be the case whether the choice is made for 
the purpose of preserving U.S. freedom of action or extending the incidence of 
democracy. Human rights concerns were a secondary justification for the inva- 
sion of Iraq. The Bush administration defended it primarily on the grounds of 
national security and of legitimate enforcement of Security Council reso- 
lutions. 107 Hence the occupation of Iraq may well not herald further wars 
against authoritarian regimes. But nothing in the premises and values of neo- 
conservatism precludes them. And the ease with which Iraq fell may encourage 
them. Neo-conservatives are prepared to make war not simply for the immedi- 
ate purpose of installing elected governments, but also for the more general one 
of maintaining U.S. hegemony indefinitely as is now enshrined in the National 
Security Strategy of September 2002. 108 A hegemonic United States will assure, 
or is at least the best means of assuring, the long-term triumph of liberal democ- 
racy and hence the greater good of humanity. 109 Of course, for traditional 
conservatives, hegemony needs no justification beyond the influence and wealth 

Domestic politics, human rights, and U.S. foreign policy 49 

and presumably the security brought to one's own country. For them the tribal 
good does not have to be wrapped in the politically correct colors of the general 

Is there any tension between the traditional realist and the neo-conservative 
world views? And if there is, should those who define the good in terms of the 
more effective defense and promotion of human rights prefer the triumph of the 
traditionalists or the crusaders? Prominent traditionalists like Henry Kissinger 
and Brent Scowcroft either supported without enthusiasm or opposed the Iraq 
war. 110 So did some of their ideological brethren in academia. 111 

In a state that for good reason feels the tide of history running against it, a 
state that feels geopolitically insecure, as Germany did when it ignited World 
Wars I and II, realists may be risk takers. 112 And few risks are consistently greater 
than the risk of war. But in a country like the United States — wealthy, cohesive, 
and without any rival in sight — realism generally operates as a restraint on mili- 
tary adventures. 

The one thing certain about armed intervention is the death and mutilation 
of the innocent. 113 Because the core human rights are imperative claims by indi- 
viduals not open to trumping by some supposed long-term general good, a 
crusade to defend them has built-in restraints that a crusade for the general 
expansion of democracy does not. In the former case, we are constrained at 
least to balance the lives hopefully saved against those we will take in order to 
save them. But if democracy alone is the end, then as long as we are confident 
that some will survive to hold free and fair elections what could matter more 
than the lives of our own troops? This may seem like an unfair reductio ad absur- 
dum, carrying the logic of the neo-conserxatives' position beyond the point that 
most of them would probably go. Yet, in fact, it is grounded in experience such 
as Central America in the 1980s. 114 


The greatest humanitarian risk from the neo-conservatives' tendency to dis- 
count the particulars of collateral damage in favor of the general goal of 
promoting democracy may lie in Asia rather than the Middle East. China, with 
its authoritarian government and 1.25 billion people, is a natural target for their 
zeal. Anyone who cares for human rights hopes to see China evolve into a state 
where rotation in office achieved through fair elections at all levels of govern- 
ment helps to make elites accountable and to widen the scope of personal 
freedom. The progressive dismantling of Maoist structures since 1979 and the 
corresponding growth of a market economy open to foreign investment and 
transnational cultural forces have already effected both a measure of personal 
liberation and a remarkable reduction in poverty. 115 

Whether the further openness to transnational economic forces implied by 
China's accession to the World Trade Organization will lead eventually to some 
form of political pluralism and effective constitutionalization of civil liberties 
s to be seen. 116 For most of the twentieth century, it was zealots id 

50 Tom J. Farer 

with or invoked by the Republican Party who claimed a virtual coincidence of 
free markets and free people; 117 liberals and social democrats had their doubts 
that the latter followed necessarily from the former. These days the doubt seems 
more intense among various factions of the right within the U.S. policy spec- 
trum. Politicized Christian fundamentalists, the neo-conservatives' erstwhile 
allies within the Party, have ardently opposed normalization of trade relation- 
ships with China and seem committed to a strategy of confrontation. 118 Writers 
and journals in or on the fringe of neo-conservatism tend to disparage the views 
that China is moving toward human freedom and can become a useful partici- 
pant in the processes of decentralized global governance. 

Organization Vatch have consistently exposed human 

rights violations in China as elsewhere. 119 That those violations are serious and 
should be part of the diplomatic discourse between Beijing and Washington is 
not in dispute among rightists and human rights advocates. However, persons 
in the human rights community and centrists and liberals more generally have 
no uniform view of how best to encourage the protection of human rights in 
China. In general, whether in the case of China or other authoritarian countries 
like Cuba, they are pragmatists about means. They believe that the efficacy of 
means is a function of circumstance and that in the choice of means, the gov- 
erning criterion is how best to mitigate the suffering of identifiable human 
beings rather than how to execute an abstract project. That is one reason why 
they are not found in the forefront of those who, though knowing it could lead 
to war between Taiwan and the mainland and to armed confrontation between 
China and the United States, would nevertheless encourage Taipei to declare its 

Imagining a greater calamity for human rights and welfare than a military 
conflict between the U.S. and China is difficult. Even something less than 
armed conflict, a renewed Cold War, for instance, seems certain to limit sharply 
the relative freedom of people in today's China. Moreover, by deflecting addi- 
tional resources into an arms buildup and reducing foreign involvement in 
China's economy, a Cold War would reverse the trend toward the reduction of 
poverty in that huge country. In addition, a Sino-American Cold War would 
dim any prospect of the U.S.'s investing significant resources in humanitarian 
activities unrelated to the conflict — for instance to mitigate intercommunal wars 
and the ravages of AIDS in Africa. Conversely, one could anticipate the same 
cynical laissez-passer for friendly but brutal regimes that often marked U.S. 
policy during the last Cold War. 

Does it then follow that human rights advocates should, at least in the case of 
China and possibly more generally, look to the conservative realists as allies, 
albeit allies of convenience? Probably not. In the first place, realists come in two 
forms, the prudent and the adventurous, or, in academic discourse, the defen- 
sive and the offensive, the latter believing that states generally do and in all 
cases should seek to maximize their power, that the idea of a mere "sufficiency" 
of power is absurd. 120 The first type of realist, epitomized today by former Sec- 
retary of State Henry Kissinger and the former national security adviser, 

Domestic politics, human rights, and U.S. foreign policy 51 

General Brent Scowcroft, is sensitive to the risks of trying to reshape the inter- 
national system's norms and actors. They are seemingly aware of the danger, 
among others, of provoking a hostile coalition of states which, were it not for 
their shared opposition to domination by an ambitious hegemon, would have 
relatively little in common. And in a world of potentially catastrophic terrorism, 
they are cautious about swelling the pool of recruits for the terrorist project and 
making the United States its favored target. 

This ideological difference explains why defensive realists grudgingly sup- 
ported the war in Iraq. In common between defensive realists and human rights 
advocates is that both support constructive engagement with China through 
trade and other exchanges. Yet trade and foreign investment help drive China's 
rapid economic growth that in turn helps sustain political stability. If rapid 
growth continues for another 20 years, China will be the only state capable of 
challenging U.S. hegemony in Asia. For that very reason the leading academic 
offensive realist, John Mearsheimer, urges adoption of economic measures that 
would slow China's growth, but he stops short of celebrating pre-emptive war. 121 
Kissinger's advocacy of engagement, both bilateral and multilateral, implies 
belief that the United States and a more developed China are not inevitably 
enemies, and that they have far greater common interests than differences. In 
short, Kissinger's China policy is more easily reconciled with non-realist theories 
that attribute causal value to institutional arrangements and subscribe to the 
idea that national interests are not given but rather constructed through the 
interaction of state elites. 

But there is another species of realist, personified by Secretary of Defense 
Donald Rumsfeld and Vice-President Dick Cheney, who apparently join the 
neo-conservatives in discounting the danger of flouting long-established prac- 
tices and norms and magnifying the decisive effect of military power. Today, 
when their focus is on terrorism, they are seemingly happy to accept China as a 
cooperative state. But given the centrality of military power in their world view, 
if and when the present sense of immediate danger passes, they could be as sus- 
ceptible as the neo-conservatives to a policy of confrontation with China. 

Should the costs of Iraq's occupation continue to mount and its inhabitants 
obdurately resist forms of governance and policy congenial to the occupier, the 
balance of persuasive power in Washington might shift to cautious realists led 
by Colin Powell. They were, at least initially, skeptics about the enterprise and 
the grand vision of a transformed Middle East. If constraining U.S. power were 
the optimal strategy for promoting humanitarian ends, human rights advocates 
might reasonably seek an alliance with resurgent realists in the Kissinger-Powell 
mode. But surely it is not. For realists of all stripes tolerated butchery in Bosnia, 
genocide in Rwanda, and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. The Congo's agony and 
Liberia's bloody convulsions have little purchase on their moral imagination 
because they have no place in their grand strategy, any more than does a 
renewed Afghanistan as opposed to one where sufficiently accommodating com- 
mercially minded warlords regulate the rubble. The neo-conservatives are 
certainly right about one thing: U.S. leadership is indispensable for any project 

52 Tom J. Farer 

to mitigate the present and looming humanitarian horrors of the twenty-first 

In that they are in accord on that point, would it not be useful for liberal 
humanitarians to reconcile with neo-conservative militants? Alas, the prospect 
for accord must be judged dim. For what does the past tell us about the nature 
of these militants? It was said of Charles de Gaulle that he loved the idea of 
France but not the French. Similarly, neo-conservatives betray love of the idea 
of liberty with their indifference to the fate of the liberated. 

Neo-conservatives invoked Saddam Hussein's savagery as one justification for 
invading Iraq. In doing so, they struck a sympathetic chord in liberal hawks, 
including the author, who have favored intervention in cases of gross inhumanity 
where the predictable collateral damage seemed small compared to the human 
costs of inaction. But what credibility can claims of humanity summon when 
those who make them fail to protect the purported beneficiaries of their concern? 

To invade Iraq without preparing to deploy immediately and instruct prop- 
erly the forces necessary to establish order, protect the inhabitants' rich cultural 
legacy, and safeguard the material infrastructure of government and the health 
system is hardly to evince concern for real people as distinguished from abstract 
ideas. Nor is a determination not to tally at least the civilian Iraqi dead and 
maimed, the collateral damage, as it were, of liberation. Nor is leaving Afghani- 
stan in shambles the better to pursue a war of choice and opportunity but 
hardly necessity in the Middle East. Nor is willed amnesia about the fate of the 
Central American countries where, in the name of democracy during the 
Reagan years, neo-conservatives championed war rather than fostering compro- 
mise and leveraging the social change that might have given substance to 
democratic forms. But all of these acts and omissions are entirely consistent with 
a cynical power-sharing compromise with the hard proponents of an unadorned 
chauvinism. And they are consistent as well with a sentiment that administration 
realists and neo-conservatives appear to possess jointly, which is indifference to 
what liberal humanitarians deem essential: due regard for the opinion of our old 
democratic allies and due concern for the lives of the peoples we propose to 

1 Barry R. Posen and Andrew L. Ross, "Competing Visions for U.S. Grand Strat- 
egy," International Security 21, no. 3 (Winter 1996-7), pp. 5-53. For a slightly 
idiosyncratic, seven-fold categorization, see Robert J. Art, "Geopolitics Updated: 
The Strategy of Selective Engagement," Inlnmilioiial Security 23, no. 3 (Winter 
1998-9), pp. 79-113. 

2 See, for example, Earl C. Ravenel, "The Case for Adjustment,'" Foreign I'n/ier Ml 
(Winter 1990-1), pp. 3-20. 

3 See, for example, Andrew J. Bacevich, "Bush's Grand Strategy," The American 
Conservative, November 4, 2002, 
sirategy.html; and Pat Buchanan, "The Unintended Consequences of War," Tie 
American Conservative, February 24, 2003, 

Domestic politics, human rights, and U.S. foreign policy 53 

4 See Noam Chomsky, Rogue States: The Rule of Force in World Affairs (Cambridge, MA: 
Southend Press, 2002:. For his views on the recent war with Iraq, see his "Drain the 
Swamp ... No More Mosquitoes," Toronto Star, October 20, 2002, p. Bl. 

5 Josef Joffe, "How America Does It," Foreign Affairs 76 (September-October 1997), 
pp. 13-27. See also Robert Art, "Geopolitics Updated." 

6 See Charles Krauthammer. "The Unipolar Moment Reconsidered," The .National 
Interest 70 (Winter 2002-3), pp. 5-27; Robert Kagan, "The Benevolent Empire," 
Fonigii Policy 111 (Summer 1998), pp. 24-35: idem, "Power and Weakness," Policy 
Review 1 1 3 June-July 2002), pp. 3-28; and John Bolton, "Should We Take Global 
Governance Seriously?" paper presented at the conference "Trends in Global Gov- 
ernance: Do They Threaten American Sovereignty?" at the American Enterprise 
Institute, Washington, D.C., April 4-5, 2000. 

7 See, for example, Jessica Matthews, "Power Shift," Foreign Affairs 76 (January- 
February 1997), pp. 50-66. 

8 See, for example, Donald Rumsfeld, "A New Kind of War," http://www.defense 1 /s200 1 0927-secdef.html. 

9 Remarks by President George W Bush at the Cincinnati Museum Center, 
October 7, 2002, 
8.html. See also Paul W. Schroeder, "Iraq: The Case Against Preemptive War," 
American Conservative, October 2, 2002. 

10 The author was present at both meetings. ( )ihers associated with the Bush admin- 
istration have made similar declarations. For example. Richard Haass, formerly 
head of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff, has defined the administra- 
tion's policy of selective engagement as "a la carte multilateralism." See Irwin 
M. Stelzer, "Is Europe a Threat?" Commentary 112 (October 2001), pp. 34-42. 

1 1 For example, Senator Trent Lott of Missouri wrote that "placing U.S. military 
forces under U.N. command and in harm's way to create government where none 
exists, is poorly conceived and ill-defined." Sen. Trent Lott, "U.N. Must Not Direct 
U.S. Troops," Christian Science Monitor, November 16, 1993, p. 20. 

12 Thomas \\". Fippman. "Clinton Struggles to Define World Vision," Chicago Sun 
Times, September 30, 1993, p. 30. 

1 3 See John Mearsheimer "The False Promise of International Institutions," Inter- 
national Security 19, no. 3 (Winter 1994-5), pp. 5-49. 

14 See, for exanrple, Clifford 1). May. "U.N. done: It's Time to Reform International 
Institutions and Alliances." National Rcciac. March 25, 2003, http://www.national-; Martin Hutchinson, "Unmitigated Disaster: 
Next Time, Ignore the U.N.," National Review, March 7, 2003, http://www.nation-; and John C. Hulsman, 
David Polansky, and Rachel Prager, "The Rebirth of Realism: The Kantian 
Trap — Utopianism in International Affairs," In The National Interest, 1 Issue 1 0/ Vol 1 Issue 1 OHulsman 1 .html. 

15 See, for example, George Melloan, "Global View: Will There Be a New World 
Order after Iraq?" Wall Street Journal, March 18, 2003, p. A17. 

16 See Joseph J. Ellis, Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation (New York: Knopf, 
2002); David McCullough, John Adams (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2001). 

17 Peter H. Maguire, Law and War (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001), 
pp. 47-9. 

18 Dexter Perkins and Oscar Handlin, Charles Evans Hughes and American Democratic 
Statesmanship (Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1978). 

19 See Treaty on Naval Armament Limitation, April 22, 1930, 46 Stat. 2858, 
T.S. no. 830; and Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy 
(Kellogg-Briand Peace Pact or Pact of Paris), August 27, 1928, 46 Stat. 2343, 94 
L.N.T.S. 57. 

20 Robert Skidelsky, John Maynard Keynes: Fighting for Britain, 1937-1946 (New York: 

54 Tom J. Farer 

Viking Press, 2001); Richard N. Gardner, Sterling-Dollar Diplomacy, 2nd edition 
(New York: McGraw-Hill, 1969). 

2 1 Richard H. Immerman, John Foster Dulles: Piety, Pragmatism, and Power in U.S. Foreign 
Policy (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1999), pp. 154-5. 

22 Stephen Ambrose, Eisenhower (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983); Michael 
Bromley. William Unwind Fuji ami Ike First Motoring Presidency, 1909-1913 (Jefferson, 
N.C.: McFarland and Company 2003). 

23 Jonathan Aitken, Nixon: A Life (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1993), 
p. 394. 

24 In his Snopes trilogy, The Hamlet (1940), Tie Town (1957), and The Mansion (1959), 
Faulkner traced the rise of the insidious Snopes family to positions of power and 
wealth in the face of the decline in wealth and prestige suffered by the Southern 
aristocratic families following the end of the war. 

25 See Robert A. Caro, The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, vol. 1 (New York: 
Vintage Books, 1990); Means of Ascent: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, vol. 2 (New York: 
Vintage Books, 1991); and Master of the Senate (New York: Vintage Books, 2003). 

26 Peter J. Wallison, Ronald Reagan, the Power of Conviction and the Success of His Presidency 
(Boulder, CO: Westview, 2002), pp. 64-73; Edmund Morris, Dutch: A Memoir of 
Ronald Reagan (New York: Random House, 1999), pp. 434-8. 

27 See William Martin, With God on Ow Sid, Flu Rim of the Religious Right in America 
(New York: Broadway Books, 1996). 

28 Michael Kazin, The Populist Persuasion: An American History (Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell 
University Press, 1998). 

29 See James Cross Giblin, The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler (New York: Clarion Books, 
2002); Ian Kershaw, Hitler, 1889-1931,: Hubris (New York: W.W. Norton and 
Company, 1999). 

30 See C. Vann Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow (Oxford: Oxford University 
Press, 2001), Chapter 3. 

3 1 Kazin, The Populist Persuasion. 

32 Pat Buchanan, Right from the Be;:. ion, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc.. 
1990). See also Tom Wolfe's Radical Chic and Mau-Maaiiig the Flak Catchers (New 
York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1970). 

33 See, for example, Thomas Frank, "The Rise of Market Populism," The Nation, 271 
(October 30, 2000), pp. 13-17; William Greider, "Global Agenda," The Nation, 270 
January 31, 2000), pp. 11-15. 

34 See Aryeh Ncicr. Taking Liberties: Four Decades in the Struggle for Rights (New York: 
Public Affairs, 2003). 

35 The Chicago Council on Foreign Relations has regularly conducted polling on 
"American Public Opinion and U.S. Foreign Policy" since the late 1970s. The 
latest report (1999) is available at 

36 Martin Mcrzcr, "Poll: Majority of Americans Oppose Unilateral Action against 
Iraq," Knight Ridder Newspapers, January 1, 2003. 

37 Adam Nagourney and Janet Elder. "More Americans Now Faulting U.N. on Iraq, 
Poll Finds," New York Times, March 11, 2003, p. Al. 

38 Former Senator Jesse Helms exemplified these views. For the text of his speech 
before the U.N. General Assembly on January 20, 2000, see "Senator Jesse Helms 
Rebukes the U.N.," Newswatch Magazine, June 1, 2000, http://www.newswatch- 

39 See, generally, Arthur Schlesinger, The New Deal in Action (New York: Macmillan, 
1940), pp. 60-8. 

40 This view was definitely inspired by the writings and teachings of the earliest 
Puritan New Lug-landers. See Perry Miller, ed., The American Puritans: Their Prose anil 
Poetry (Garden City, N.Y: Doubleday Anchor, 1956). 

Domestic politics, human rights, and U.S. foreign policy 55 

41 The International Social Survey Program conducted cross-national surveys of reli- 
gious belief in 1991 and 1993. See "The ISSP Cross-National Religion Survey," 
The Public Perspective 5 (March/April 1994), pp. 21-5. 

42 Miller, American Puritans. 

43 Werner Sombart, Why Is There No Socialism in the U.S.? (Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe, 
1978). See also Michael Harrington, Socialism: Past and Future (New York: Mentor 
Books, 1992). 

44 See Samuel Huntington, "American Ideals versus American Institutions," Political 
Science Quarterly 97, no. 1 (Spring 1982), pp. 1-37. 

45 Ibid., pp. 1-2. 

46 Kevin Passmore provides a good overview of prewar European conservatism and 
its relationship with various forms of fascism. Fascism: A I err Short Introduction (New 
York: Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 72-86. 

47 In the words of Heinrich von Treitschke, "War and conquest ... are the most impor- 
tant factors in State construction." Politics, vol. 1, trans. Arthur James Balfour 
(London: Constable and Company, 1916), p. 108. See also pp. 597-600 of volume 2. 

48 For a description of the evolution of the contemporary left, see Anthony Giddens, 
The Third Wave and its Critics (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2000). 

49 See Louis Hartz, The Liberal Tradition in America, 2nd edition (San Diego, CA: 
Harvest Books, 1991). 

50 See Schlesinger, The New Deal in Action. 

51 Daniel Bell, The End of Ideology: The Exhaustion of Political Ideas in the Fifties (Cam- 
bridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000). 

52 See Martin, With God on Our Side. 

53 The Supreme Court has ruled that one public high school district's use of "invoca- 
tions" or "benedictions" before football games is unci institutional. See Santa Fe 
Independent School District v. Doe, no. 99-62. Argued March 29, 2000; Decided June 19, 
2000. See also hv v. Jt'eisman, prohibiting prayer at graduation ceremonies, 505 
U.S. 577; 112 S. Ct. 2649 (1992); Abington School District, v. Schempp 374 U.S. 203; 
83 S. Ct. 1560 (1963) banning mandatory Bible readings and Wallace v. Jqffree 472 
U.S. 38; 105 S. Ct. 2479 (1985) invalidating voluntary prayer and moments of silence. 

54 Norman Podhoretz is perhaps most exemplary. See his Making It (New York: 
Random House, 1967) and Breaking Ranks: A Political Memoir (New York: Harper 
and Rowe, 1979). Rosenberg and Howe contended that Podhoretz "s editorship of 
Cmiiiiicnlaiy. however, was not part and parcel of the development of a new conserv- 
ative ideology as it was "against recent versions of what Podhoretz takes to be 
vulgarizations of liberalism." See Bernard Rosenberg and Irving Howe, "Are 
American Jews turning toward the right?" in Lewis A. Coser and Irving Howe, 
eds., The New Conservatives: A Critique from the Left (New York: Meridian, 1976). 

55 Sidney Hook and Irving Howe are prime examples. On Hook, see Christopher 
Phelp-i. liitmg Sidney Hook: Marxist and Pragmatist (Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell L'niversitv 
Press, 1997). On Howe, see Edward Alexander, Irving Howe: Socialist, Critic, Jew 
'Blooinington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1998) and Gerald Sorin, Irving Howe: A 
Life of Passionate Dissent (New York: New York University Press, 2003). 

56 In an interview with Michele Norris on National Public Radio's All Things Considered 
about his upcoming book. An Eurittion in the Family. Robert Meeropol, the younger 
son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, contends that revelations about the horrors of 
Stalin's rule that emerged after his death precipitated the largest single decline in 
membership in the U.S. Communist Party, from 30-40,000 members to less than 
10,000. At the height of its popularity in the 1930s, membership was around 
100,000 June 19,2003). 

57 Jeane Kirkpatrick. "Dictatorships and Double Standards," Commentary 68 (Novem- 
ber 1979), pp. 34-45. For a critical analysis, see Tout J. later, "Reagan's Latin 
America," New York Review of Books 28, no. 4 (March 1981), pp. 10-16. 

56 Tom J. Farer 

58 See Julian Bond's comprehensive overview of this history in the Introduction to 
Maurianne Adams and John II. Braeey. eds.. Strangers and Neighbors: Relations helicuv 
Bleaks and Jews in the United States (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts 
Press, 1999). 

59 See Andrew Hacker, "American Apartheid," New York Review of Books 34, no. 19 
(December 1987), pp. 26-33. 

60 Glenn C. Loury cites the problem of African- Americans' employment of a form of 
"comparative victimology" — especially equating the suffering and consequences of 
chattel slavery with the Holocaust — as a significant source of the split between the 
two groups. See "Behind the Black-Jewish Split," Commentary 81 January 1986), 
pp. 23-7. 

61 The 1978 Bakke-Regents of the University of California case was the font of many 
of the earliest formulations of "affirmative action quotas" which caught the atten- 
tion of some Jewish commentators (see, for example, Joseph Adelson, "Living with 
Quotas," Commentary 65 (May 1978), pp. 23-9) and black intellectuals such as 
Thomas Sow ell (see, for example, "Are Quotas Good for Blacks?" Commentary 65 
June 1978), pp. 39-43. See also the special issue of Commentary (vol. 69. January 
1980) entitled "Liberalism and the Jews: A Symposium." 

62 This was during the particularly divisive period of 1966-7. The proposal came from 
a local chapter operating in Georgia. The leader of the SNCC. Stokley Garmichael. 
never actually endorsed the exclusion of whites from the organization. 

63 See Morris Abrams's autobiography, The Day is Short (New York: Harcourt, 1982). 
Abrams's trajectory from a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials, to champion of the 
civil rights movement in the U.S., to embittered neo-conservative is exemplary. 
Abrams died in 2000. 

64 For a historical account of the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Crisis, see Jerald E. Podair, 
"The Ocean Hill-Brownsville Crisis: New York's Antigone" (paper prepared for the 
2001 Gotham History Festival, sponsored by the Gotham Center for New York 
City History, available at confpa- 
pers/podair.pdf). For an account from a sociological perspective, see Jane Anna 
Gordon, Why Couldn't They Wait? A Critique of the Black-Jewish Conflict Over Community 
Control in Ocean Hill-Brownsville (1967-1971) (New York: Routledge, 2001). 

65 Randall Robinson, the founder of the TransAfrica Forum, is an exemplary and key 
figure in the reparations movement, not only for African-Americans, but also in the 
form of North-South transfers for the injustices of African cob 

66 See, for example, Walter Isaacson, Kissinger: A lliogru/ihr New York: Simon and 
Schuster, 1992), p. 675. 

67 Paul Hofman, "Moynihan's Style in the UN. Is Now an Open Debate," New York 
Times, November 21, 1975, p. A3. 

68 See Moynihan's "The United States in Opposition," Commentary 59 (March 1975), 
pp. 31-44. 

69 Ibid. See also the special issue of Commentary. "Liberalism and the Jews" 69 
January 1980), passim. 

70 The 1967 war is considered by some to be decisive in the Black-Jewish split 
because it was widened to include foreign policy. See Huey L. Perry and Ruth 
B. White, "The Post-Civil Rights Transformation of the Rclation*hip between 
Blacks and Jews in the United States," Phylon 47, no. 1 (1986), pp. 51-60. They 
quote heavily from Nathan Glazer's Ethnic Dilemmas: 1964-1982 (Cambridge, MA: 
Harvard University Press, 1983). 

7 1 This was the movement begun by the Group of 77 and the Non- Aligned Movement, 
Marling first within the UN. Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD: 
and culminating in the Sixth Special Session of the General Assembly's adoption of 
the Program of Action on the Establishment of a New International Economic 
Order and the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States in 1974. The most 

Domestic politics, human rights, and U.S. foreign policy 57 

recent articulation of the issue of redress was at the 2001 World Conference on 
Racism, held in Durban, South Africa. The Declaration adopted at the Conference 
is at 

72 See Ian Lustick, "Israeli State-Building in the \\e-.l Bank and (iaza Strip: Theory 
and Practice," International Organization 41, no. 1 (1987), pp. 151-71. 

73 See especially Michael J. Smith, "Henry Kissinger: realism in power," in his Realist 
Thought from Weber to Kissinger (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 
1986), pp. 192-217. 

74 With reference to the rapidly deteriorating situation in the Balkans in the early 
1990s, Secretary of State James Baker was quoted as telling George H.W. Bush, 
"we don't have a dog in that fight." Max Boot, "Paving the Road to Hell: The 
Failure of U.S. Peacekeeping," Foreign Affairs 79 (March-April 2000), p. 146. 

75 Kirkpatrick basically wrote the blueprint for what would become Reagan's Latin 
America policy — especially with respect to Central America — in her "U.S. Security 
and Latin America," Commentary 71 (January 1981), pp. 29-40. For other exposi- 
tion ollviikpatiiek's policy on Latin America, see her collection of speeches: The 
Reagan Phenomenon and Other Speeches on Foreign Policy (Washington, D.C.: Aid Pre ->. 
1983). Elliot Abrams — as Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and 
Humanitarian Affairs, and later as Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs — 
would become deeply enmeshed in the Iran-Contra scandal. 

76 James Reston, "The Reagan Show," Mew York Times, February 1, 1981, p. E21. 

77 See Robert H. Johnson, "Misguided Morality: Ethics and the Reagan Doc trine," 
Political Science Quarterly 103 (1988), pp. 509-29. 

78 See Lars Schoultz, Human Rights and United States Policy Toward Latin America (Prince- 
ton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1981). 

79 In late 1980 four American Maryknoll nuns were killed by U.S. -backed Salvadoran 
soldiers during the civil war against the Frente Farabundo Marti para la Liberation 
National (FMLN;. At the time, Kirkpatrick remarked, "they were not just nuns . . . 
they were political activist* on belt, ilk of the frente." Flora Lewis, "Keeping it 
Honest," New York Times, March 27, 1981, p. A27. Also notorious was the adminis- 
tration's involvement in concealing the truth about the El Mozote massacre of 
December 1981, in which over 750 Salvadoran men, women, and children were 
killed by a U.S. -trained unit of the Salvadoran Army. See Mark Danner, The Mas- 
sacre at El Mozote: A Parable of the Cold }\'ar (New York: Vintage Books, 1994). See 
Alan Riding, "Duarte's Strategy May Work Better in U.S. than in Salvador," New 
York Times, September 27, 1981, p. E5. 

80 William Safire, "Bush's Moral Crisis," New York Times, April 1, 1991, p. Al 7. 

81 This was primarily a result of the administration's decision to temporarily suspend 
loan guarantees to Israel in order to halt expansion of Jewish settlements in the 
West For an account of the fallout, see Jay P. Leftkowitz, "Does the Jewish 
Vote Count?" Commentary 1 1 1 (March 2001), pp. 50-3. 

82 Charles Krauthammer, "The Unipolar Moment," Foreign Affairs 70 (Winter 
1990-1), pp. 23-33. 

83 See, for example, Michael lsikoff. "The Robertson Right and the Grandest Con- 
spiracy," Washington Post, October 11, 1992, p. C3. 

84 While referring to Somalia during the October 11, 2000 Presidential Debate at 
Wake Forest University, Bush said, "I don't think our troops ought to be used for 
what's called nation-building. I think our troops ought to be used to fight and win 
war." The text is available at 

85 Ibid. 

86 This criticism was land on !(. (on website, georgewbush. 
com, "Issues: Policy Points Overview (April 2, 2000). 

87 When asked bv the TV personality Larry King, "What area of international policy 

58 Tom J. Farer 

would you change immediately?" Bush's response was, "Our relationship with 
China. The President has called the relationship with China a strategic partner- 
ship. I believe our relationship needs to be redefined as competitor . . . [W]e must 
make it clear to the Chinese that we don't appreciate any attempt to spread 
weapons of mass destruction around the world, that we don't appreciate any 
threats to our friends and allies in the Far East." Larry King Live Show. February 13. 

88 See, for example, Krauthammer, "Unipolar Moment"; Mark Helprin, "What 
Israel Must Do to Survive," Commentary 112 (November 2001), pp. 25-8; Daniel 
Pipes, "Who is the Enemy?" Commentary 113 (January 2002), pp. 21—7; Norman 
Podhoretz, "How to Win World War IV," Commentary 113 (February 2002), 
pp. 19-29. For a critical view, see Nicholas Lemann, "The Next World Order," 
New Yorker, April 1, 2002, pp. 42-8. 

89 Alan Murray, "Bush Officials Scramble to Push Democracy in Iraq," Wall Street 
Journal, April 8, 2003, p. A4; Lawrence Kaplan, "Regime Change," New Republic 
228, March 3, 2003, pp. 21-3. 

90 See Thomas Carothers, "Promoting Democracy and Fighting Terror," Foreign 
Affairs 82 January-February 2003), pp. 84-97. 

91 The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights in particular published "A Year of 
Loss: Examining Civil Liberties Since September 1 1 " (September 2002), and its 
update, "Imbalance of Powers: How Changes to U.S. Law and Policy Since 9/11 
Erode Civil Liberties" (April 2003). These reports are available online at http:// 

92 See, for example, Condoleezza Rice, "Promoting the National Interest," Foreign 
Affairs 79 January-February 2000), pp. 45-62. 

93 Christopher Dickey and Evan Thomas, with Mark Hosenball, Roy Gutman, and 
John Barry, "How Saddam Happened," Newsweek, September 3, 2002, pp. 34-40. 

94 See Samantha Power, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide (New York: 
Basic Books, 2002), Chapters 9 and 10. 

95 This was due mostly to Clinton's emphasis on domestic — especially economic — 
policy. David Halberstram. War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton and the Generals (New 
York: Scribner, 2001), pp. 158, 167-8. 

96 See, for example, Ramesh Ponnuru, "Getting to the Bottom of this 'Neo' Non- 
sense," National Review, June 16, 2003, pp. 29-32; and idem, "The Shadow Men," 
The Economist, April 26, 2003, pp. 21-3. 

97 Or even, "Wilsonianism in boots." See Stanley Hoffman, "The High and the 
Mighty: Bush's .National Security Strategy and the New American Hubris," American 
Prospect 13, January 13, 2003, 

98 See Micheline Ishay, Human Rights Reader: Major Speeches, Essays and Documents /rum the 
Bible to the Present (London: Routledge, 1997). 

99 Jack Donnelly, Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice (Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell 
University Press, 2002), p. 35. 

100 For example, Chile's 1925 and 1980 constitutions permitted suspending certain 
rights under the Constitution during States of Emergency. Edward C. Snyder, 
"The Dirty Legal War: Human Rights and the Rule of Law in Chile: 1973-95," 2 
Tulsa Journal of Comparative and International Taw 253 (Spring 1995), pp. 253-85. 

101 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, G.A. res. 00A (XXI) 21 U.N. 
GAOR Supp. (no. 16) at 5 UN. Doc. A/6316 (1966), 999 U.N.T.S. 171 entered 
into force March 3, 1976, Article 4.1. 

102 Ibid., Article 4.2 

103 Samia Nakhoul, "Boy Bomb Victim Struggles Against Despair," Daily Mirror, 
April 8, 2003. 

104 See George F. Will, "Measured Audacity," Newsweek 141, April 14, 2003, p. 66. 

Domestic politics, human rights, and U.S. foreign policy 59 

105 The primary treaties of humanitarian law governing international armed conflict 
are the 1907 Hague Convention, the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the 1977 
Additional Protocol 1 to the Geneva Conventions. Taken in concert, the provisions 
of these treaties require that military attacks must be directed at military targets 
and that the rules of necessity and proportionality be followed, but it does not 
mean that there cannot be civilian casualties. See Michael Botlie ct id.. Mew Rules for 
Armed Conflicts (Dordrecht: Kluwer Law International. 1982), pp. 304-5. 

106 The White House claimed that Saddam Hussein repeatedly violated 16 United 
Nations Security Council resolutions designed to ensure that Iraq does not pose a 
threat to international peace and security. A list of those resolutions can be found 
in the White House briefing paper, "Iraq, A Decade of Deception and Defiance," See, for 
example, "Iraq: Witnesses Link Mass Graves to 1991 Repression," "The Mass 
Graves of al-Mahawil: The Truth Uncovered," "Mass Graves Hide Horror of Iraqi 
Past," and "Human Rights Testimony on Prosecuting Iraqi War Crimes," all avail- 
able on the Human Rights Watch website, hlip://liumani'iglttswan h.oig, . More 
than one million people were killed during the Iran-Iraq war. Dilip Hiro, The 
Longest War (New York: Routledge, 1991), p. 1. The U.S. State Department reports 
that a thousand Kuwaitis were killed during the Iraqi invasion and subsequent 
occupation in 1990-1. See 
The reader may wish to compare the above with the "Special Report" published 
by the United States Institute of Peace after a December 2002 symposium to 
address the question "Would an Invasion of Iraq be a Just War?'" Available at 

107 David E. Sanger, "Bush Sees 'Urgent Duty' to Pre-empt Attack by Iraq," New York 
Times, October 8, 2002, p. Al. 

108 The National Security Strategy is available at 

109 See, for example, William Kristol and Robert Kagan. "Toward a Neo-Reaganite 
Foreign Policy," Foreign Affairs 75 (July-August 1996), pp. 18-32. 

110 Henry Kissinger, "Phase II and Iraq," Washington Post, January 13, 2002, p. B7; 
Brent Scowcroft. "Don't Attack Saddam." ]\"all Street Journal, August 15, 2002, 
p. A12. 

111 See, for example, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. "An I nnecessary War," 
Foreign Policy January-February 2003), pp. 51-60. 

112 See generally Gordon A. Craig, The Germans (New York: Meridian Books, 1991); 
William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (New York: Simon and Schuster. 

113 Stuart Taylor Jr., "In Wake of Invasion, Much Official Misinformation by U.S. 
Comes to Light," Mew York Times, November 6, 1983, p. A20. The invasion of 
Panama resulted in the deaths of 300 Panamanians. Adam Isaac Hasson. 
"Extraterritorial Jurisdiction and Sovereign Immunity on Trial: Xorirga. Pinochet, 
and Milosevic — Trends in Political Accountability and Transnational Criminal 
Law," Boston College International and Comparative Law Review 125 (Winter 2002), 
pp. 125-58. 

114 For a discussion, see Danner, El Mozote; David K. Shipler, "Senators Challenge 
Officials on Contras. " Ncc York Times. February 6, 1987, p. A3; Marlene Dixon, On 
Trial: Reagan's II ar Against Nicaragua (San Francisco: Synthesis Publications. 1985': 
and Howard J. Wiarda, "Europe's Ambiguous Relations with Latin America: 
Blowing Hot and Cold in the Western Hemisphere," Washington Quarterly 13 (Spring 
1990), pp. 153-67. 

115 Albert Park, "Growth and Poverty Reduction in China," World Bank Presentation 
at the University of Michigan, June 17, 2002, http://poverty.worldbank.oig/lilis/ 
1 2398_APark-Presentation.pdf. 

60 Tom J. Farer 

116 The U.S. Trade Representative (luring the Clinton administration, Charlene 
Barshefsky, said with regard to China's entry into die World Trade < )r»anizatioti, 
"I am cautious in making claims that a market-opening agreement leads to any- 
thing other than opening the market." William Shultz, In Our Own Best Interest: How 
Defending Human Rights Benefits Us All (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 200 1 ), p. 71. For 
another perspecuve. see Martin Lee, "Free Trade with China? Yes, It Will Spur 
Reform," Wall Street Journal, May 18, 2000, p. A26. 

1 1 7 Milton Friedman and other Hayekian-inspired "free traders" immediately spring to 
mind. Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 

2 is exemplary. 

1 18 For an overview of conservative Christian views on the topic of US-China trade 
relations (pre-WTO), see Julie Kosterlitz, "Conservatives clash over China," 
National Journal 30, July 18, 1998, p. 1693. 

1 19 Human Rights Watch has published scores of topical reports on human rights in 
China and Tibet over the years. Many are available at 

120 See generally John J. Mcarsheiiner. Tlie Tragedy of Great Power Politics (New York: 
W.W. Norton, 2001) and Glen H. Snyder's review of the book in International Security 
27, no. 1 (Summer 2002), pp. 149-73. 

121 John Mearsheimer, "The Future of the American Pacifier," Foreign Affairs 80, no. 5 
(September-October 2001), pp. 46-61. 

Pre-emption and exceptionalism 
in U.S. foreign policy 

Precedent and example in the 
international arena 

Judith Lichtenberg 1 

When a man commits himself to anythii itg that he is not only 

choosing what he will be, but is thereby at the same time a legislator deciding 
for the whole of mankind — in such a moment a man cannot escape from the 
sense of complete and profound responsibility . . . Everything happens to every 
man as though the whole human race had its eves fixed upon what he is doing 
and regulated its conduct accordingly. 

Jean-Paul Sartre. "Existentialism Is a Humanism" 2 

It is not in the American national interest to establish pre-emption as a universal 
principle available to every nation. 

Henry Kissinger, August 1 1, 2002 3 

What is most troubling about U.S. foreign policy today is the example that it 
holds up to the world and the precedent that it sets, conjoined with its disregard 
for the significance of both example and precedent. The United States legis- 
lates, dangerously, for the whole of humankind, while simultaneously refusing to 
acknowledge that role — thereby escaping, as Jean-Paul Sartre says one cannot 
do, from its "complete and profound responsibility." Of course, states and their 
governments are not in every way analogous to individual human beings. But in 
the most important respects, governments are agents whose actions and policies 
have just the kind of precedential and exemplary significance that individuals' 
actions do — even more so, I shall argue, because of their inescapably public 

Sartre's claim that every agent legislates for all humanity derives from the 
"Categorical Imperative," Kant's fundamental principle of morality. According 
to Immanuel Kant, an agent ought to "act only according to that maxim by 
which . . . [one] can at the same time will that it should become a universal 
law." 4 This formulation of the Categorical Imperative (one of three that Kant 
offers) has been subjected to much scrutiny over the years. Contemporary 
philosophers have found it difficult to interpret it in a way that achieves every- 
thing Kant intended. Yet the germ of Kant's idea captures something that goes 
deep in our thinking about the moral requirements of conduct, and the same or 

(>2 Judith Lichtenberg 

similar conceptions can be found in a variety of other moral theories and 
systems. The intuitive idea is that in deciding how to act, an agent must con- 
sider whether he would be willing for everyone to act according to the same 
principle (Kant used the term "maxim"). At the very least, unless an agent is 
willing to accept the universal adoption of his principle of action, the action is 
impermissible. 5 Universalizability should be understood in terms of consistency: 
what is right for me is right for anyone similarly situated. 

Sartre appears to be expressing the same idea. But whereas Kant argues that 
one ought to employ the Categorical Imperative — acting only on those principles 
which one would be willing that everyone act on — Sartre makes the bolder 
point that whether we like it or not, whether we choose it or not, in acting we 
inevitably legislate for all of humanity. 6 My action sets an example; what I do 
others will conclude that they may do too. 

Why does my action set an example? Why this inevitable universalizing 
feature? Lying behind the universalizability requirement is a postulate of human 
equality. No person can claim a privilege to act simply by virtue of who he or 
she is; no one can set himself or herself apart as a special case. If I am justified 
in acting in a certain way it is because of features of my situation that, if pos- 
sessed by others, would justify them in so acting as well. These "features of the 
situation" — the phrases "anyone in the same circumstances" and "anyone simi- 
larly situated" get at the same idea — are embodied in the principle or maxim 
implicit in one's proposed course of action. 

Two questions immediately confront us. The first concerns the analogy 
between states and individuals. Is it plausible to think that nation states, or their 
governments, are moral agents subject to the requirement of universalizability in 
the way we suppose individuals are? The second is a question familiar to students 
of Kant. Assuming we can make the analogy between states and individuals, how 
do we identify the maxim or principle according to which a state acts? More 
specifically, what is the maxim or principle that correctly characterizes the pre- 
emptive military intervention characteristic of current U.S. foreign policy? I 
begin with the second, more concrete question before turning to the first. 

Possible principles of action 

What principle does the U.S. government invoke or imply in its wars against 
terrorism and against Iraq? Students of Kant know that identifying the relevant 
principle at work in an agent's proposed course of action is rarely easy. Here are 
several possibilities, in increasing order of narrowness and specificity. 

Principle One. States may engage in wars of conquest. This principle would repre- 
sent a giant step backward into barbarism and would violate the U.N. Charter. 
It would justify Hitler's launching of World War II and Saddam Hussein's 
annexation of Kuwait. Clearly this crude principle is not the one at work in 
U.S. foreign policy today. 

Principle Two. States may engage in preventive wars against those who might potentially 
attack them. This principle narrows the scope of the policy to preventive acts 

Pre-emption and exceptionalism in U.S. foreign policy 63 

against potential enemies. But it remains far too broad. During the Cold War it 
would have justified either a U.S. or a Soviet first strike against the other; today 
it would justify first strikes by India and Pakistan against each other. There are 
those troubling words "might" and "potentially." Depending on the degree of 
probability assigned and the length of the time frame, any state could use the 
principle to launch a war against its geopolitical adversaries. The deep problem 
with Principle Two is that it actually makes states into potential threats to each 
other by permitting preventive conquest of potential adversaries. Principle Two 
would lead to perpetual international conflict. 

Principle Three. States may engage in preventive wars against states possessing weapons of 
mass destruction (WMD). This principle licenses pre-emptive attacks against the 
United States, the world's largest holder of nuclear weapons and poison gas. 
Clearly it is not what the current Bush administration has in mind. 

Principle Four. States may engage in preventive wars against rogue states possessing 
weapons of mass destruction. The best definition of a rogue state is one that disre- 
gards principles of world order and international law and launches aggressive 
attacks against others, sometimes by covert means. The trouble with this defini- 
tion is that once we show ourselves prepared to conquer nations we dislike, we 
become a rogue state with WMD — hence a legitimate target of attack. 

That is absurd, of course. We know we are not a rogue state — and we know 
that Iraq was. But how do we argue the case to states suspicious of U.S. 
motives? Without some neutral definition, "rogueness" is in the eye of the 
beholder. Who decides when another country's "elected" leader is really a dic- 
tator and a rogue? Does India get to declare General Pervez Musharraf a rogue 
and attack him? Perhaps the decision could be made by some multilateral body, 
like the U.N. Multilateralism might make Principle Four more palatable to the 
rest of the world, but it will certainly not be acceptable to U.S. interventionists. 
They do not want a worldwide referendum on Iraq's rogue status. 

Pniicijile Five. Superpowers may engage in certain actions that other nations may not, such 
as deciding which foreign regimes are rogue states and removing them. If this is the principle 
according to which the U.S. acts, then it is committed to the following view: if 
X is a superpower, then X may engage in actions that other nations may not. It 
just so happens that the U.S. is the only superpower in the world today, but that 
is incidental to the argument. The principle is a general one. It would apply to 
other superpowers if there were others, and it would hold if the U.S. were not a 
superpower. Perhaps the central question, then, is whether the U.S. would be 
willing to accept Principle Five if it were not a superpower. Clearly, it would 
find Principle Five no more acceptable than 190 other states do at this moment. 

Principle Six. The U.S. may engage in actions that other nations may not, such as decid- 
ing which foreign regimes are rogues and removing them. The presence of a proper name, 
the U.S., tells us that with Principle Six we have left the realm of principle. 
According to this "anti-principle," a double standard — one for the United 
States and one for the rest of the world — is the right standard, in keeping with 
"American exceptionalism." Throughout history, realists remind us, the world's 
superpowers have invariably written their own rules; others go along because 

(>1 Judith Lichtenberg 

they have no choice. The U.S., according to this view, does not need a general 
principle. If it wants to choose governments for other countries, it has the right 
to do so. If other states claim the same right, they cannot have it. 

Principle Six is not a principle but rather a straightforward rejection of the 
Kantian and Sartrean standpoints from which we began. But that is not enough 
to condemn it. Gould this way of reasoning, and acting, be justified? It depends 
at least in part on whether the Kantian and Sartrean standpoints apply to any- 
thing other than individuals. 

Are states moral agents? 

The question, then, is whether states can be moral agents subject to the demand 
that they conform their behavior to the requirement of universalizability. If not, 
the foregoing criticism of U.S. foreign policy is inappropriate and unjustified. 

Consider two general arguments against the view that states can be moral 
agents. The first might be called the anthropomorphism argument to believe that 
states can be moral agents is to attribute human qualities to nonhuman things. 
To be morally responsible requires, at the very least, having a mind, and states 
do not have minds. 

This argument is flawed on several grounds. We often hold collective entities, 
such as corporations and agencies, responsible both morally and legally, 
although they too lack minds. The anthropomorphism argument, if taken seri- 
ously, would not permit us to hold any corporate entities responsible and would 
thus contradict important bodies of law and common practice. If it were not 
possible to identify such corporate entities with the behavior of individuals, this 
argument would be worth taking seriously. But we can and do identify states 
and other corporate entities with the actions of particular individuals — typically 
their political and military leaders, their executives, and chief officers, and some- 
times others under their command who are responsible for making and carrying 
out decisions. Of course, it can be difficult to assign blame to particular agents, 
because responsibility is dispersed and diffuse. In the case at hand, we might dis- 
agree about who all the responsible agents are. But we will have no trouble 
agreeing about who some of them are. 

The anthropomorphism argument is closely related to, and may ultimately 
depend on, the claim of methodological individualism, a view frequently dis- 
cussed in the philosophy of the social sciences. According to methodological 
individualism, only individuals exist and all talk of corporate or group entities 
must be ultimately reducible to the language of individual behavior. We need 
not enter here into the debate about the merits of this view, because the attribu- 
tion of agency to states requires no more than the conjoined agency of 
individuals. States may be obscure entities, but the moral agency with which we 
are concerned here inheres in governments or regimes. 

The more familiar argument for the belief that states (or governments or 
regimes) are not moral agents is realism, or realpolitik. Realism says that moral- 
ity is irrelevant to the conduct of states, an :,:'.; and evaluation 

Pre-emption and exceptionalism in U.S. foreign policy 65 

are therefore also irrelevant. Realism comes in two varieties, which are not 
often clearly distinguished. According to the first, states do not act on the basis 
of moral considerations. According to the second, states ought not act on the 
basis of moral considerations. 

No one would dispute that there is much truth in the first claim. States typi- 
cally, if not always, act on the basis of their perceived national interests, and 
moral considerations play, at best, a distinctly secondary role. This fact does 
not, however, let them off the moral hook. Some individuals act mainly or 
purely on the basis of their perceived self-interest, but we do not think that they 
are thereby relieved of moral responsibility. 7 

Implicit in the first realist thesis is an assumption about the motives of state 
actors. The question of motive — in state action as well as in individual action — 
is a complex and difficult one. How can we know an agent's actual motives? 
Under what circumstances is it reasonable to expect an agent (whether an indi- 
vidual or a state) to act against self-interest? How do we factor into the moral 
equation the presence of multiple motives? These questions are fascinating and 
important, but attempting to answer them would take us beyond the scope of 
this essay. And they are not, I believe, ultimately relevant. We should for the 
most part ignore questions about the motives of states or governments and focus 
instead on the justifiability of their actions. From that point of view, the realist 
claim that states do not act according to purely moral considerations is irrele- 
vant even insofar as it is true. Whatever their motives, the actions of states must 
be able to withstand moral scrutiny. Our interest is not in the moral virtue of 
states but in the legitimacy of their actions and policies. 

This view may seem less plausible if we move from the first realist view to 
the second — from "states do not act on the basis of moral considerations" to 
"states ought not to act on the basis of moral considerations." For it may seem 
odd to say simultaneously that an agent ought not to pay attention to certain 
sorts of consideration (that is, moral ones) but that its behavior will be subject to 
evaluation on the basis of whether it conforms to such considerations. If indeed 
these two ideas are incompatible, that is sufficient reason to reject the second 
realist view. For nothing could be clearer than that we — individuals, govern- 
ments, peoples everywhere — continually engage in the moral evaluation of the 
behavior of states and their governments. Both public opinion and international 
law hold states responsible for their actions. So either realism is false (on either 
of its two interpretations), or it is not incompatible with the requirement that 
stales justify their behavior. 

Are states equal moral agents? 

Even if states are moral agents that must justify their actions, it might be argued 
that states are not equal in the way that we suppose individual human beings 
are equal, and that this inequality allows or even requires different standards for 
different states. These different standards apply both to states as agents and to 
states that are acted upon. 

66 Judith Lichtenberg 

Evaluating this argument seems to presuppose that we have a good under- 
standing of what it means to say that individual human beings are equal. But 
this claim is at best unclear and at worst untrue. We know that human beings 
are not equal along any dimension that we can name: strength, beauty, intelli- 
gence, energy, happiness, sociability, or accomplishment. Nor are they "morally 
equal" in the most obvious meaning of that term — that is, equally inclined to 
morally acceptable motives or behavior. 

In light of these facts, philosophers typically analyze human equality in terms 
of the idea that human beings are entitled to "equal consideration" or to "equal 
concern and respect." Equal consideration or equal concern and respect does 
not imply that all people should be treated the same, but rather that treating 
people differently requires providing relevant reasons. 8 Treating a vicious mur- 
derer differently from a law-abiding citizen and treating a hungry person 
differently from a well-fed one are, in this analysis, compatible with treating 
people with equal concern and respect. 

This is admittedly a thin conception of equality, one that does not imply 
egalitarianism in the usual sense and is compatible with a great deal of inequal- 
ity. Some will seek a more robust conception. But this one will suffice for our 
purposes. In demanding that different treatment requires relevant reasons, the 
principle of equal consideration is very close to (perhaps even identical with) the 
Kantian and Sartrean requirement of universalizability. In expressing one's 
principle of action, one is at the same time describing the circumstances under 
which actions of that kind are justified, for oneself and others. Making a distinc- 
tion between two agents or two actions requires articulating a relevant 
difference (or more than one) between them. 

What makes a difference relevant? Why should I be permitted to do this and 
you not? Why should the U.S. be permitted to act in this way and other coun- 
tries not? We may despair of finding objective criteria of relevance. But the 
requirement that one be willing for all to act on the principle underlying one's 
own action is an excellent proxy. It requires only that one answer in good faith. 
As John Rawls explains, each 

will be wary of proposing a principle which would give him a peculiar 
advantage, in his present circumstances . . . Each person knows that he will 
be bound by it in future circumstances the peculiarities of which cannot be 
known, and which might well be such that the principle is then to his disad- 
vantage. 9 

States, governments, and the peoples whom they govern are unequal in a 
variety of respects, as are individuals. They differ in physical size, population, 
riches, power, culture, and technological advancement. Perhaps most important 
for our purposes is that some states are illegitimate, by virtue of the relationship 
that they have (or lack) with the people within their borders. Although a democ- 
ratic form of government is not a necessary condition of legitimacy, some degree 
of popular support is. Illegitimate states lack the rights of political sovereignty 

Pre-emption and exceptionalism in U.S. foreign policy 67 

and territorial integrity that international law and custom normally accord 
states. Just as we may treat criminals, in light of their conduct, differently from 
other people, so we may treat illegitimate states differently from other states. 

But facts such as these do not contradict the idea that the acceptability of a 
state's proposed course of action must be decided by articulating the principle 
underlying its action and seeing whether it can be universalized. The illegiti- 
macy of a state, for example — either one that acts or one that is acted 
upon — will figure in the principle of action. The inequalities between states that 
make a moral difference are not left out of account in reckoning the legitimacy 
of actions and policies — by states and toward states. 

This view may appear to suggest a reified conception of states, or one that 
accords them undue respect. According to the criticism, the analogy between 
states and individuals is at best highly misleading. Even though differences 
between individuals justify differences in their treatment, still there is a sense in 
which individuals possess some kind of inviolability that states do not. What 
Michael Walzer calls the "legalist paradigm," 10 according to which states 
possess rights to political sovereignty and territorial integrity, is in this critical 
view misguided and mistaken. The legalist paradigm is enshrined in Article 2 of 
the U.N. Charter, which asserts the "sovereign equality" of member states and 
their right to territorial integrity and political independence. From the legalist 
paradigm it follows that states may do what they like within their own borders, 
or at the very least that outsiders have no right to intervene. But according to 
this critical view state sovereignty is, if not altogether an illusion, at least an 
exaggeration. If this is so then the notion of states as entities like individuals 
who are presumptively equal is also a mistake. How then can one make the 
analogy on which this argument rests? 

I agree with those who believe state sovereignty is overrated as a morally 
basic concept. ' ' At best, state sovereignty is a useful proxy for the rights that a 
state (in effect, a government or regime) holds in virtue of its relationships with 
those within its borders — specifically, for the principle of nonintervention in that 
state's internal affairs. The more positively a regime is related to its people, the 
more it makes sense to say that state is sovereign and possesses a right to nonin- 
tervention. A democratic state is more positively related to its people, we may 
suppose, than an undemocratic state. But the term "democratic" covers a multi- 
tude of possibilities that themselves vary in ways relevant to sovereignty. More 
fundamentally, the degree of a state's sovereignty, and thus the extent to which 
the principle of nonintervention holds with respect to it, depends upon how 
much the regime reflects the ability of people within its borders to choose 
freely — or determine themselves — consistent with the rights of others. I return 
to this point in the last section. 

Principle and prudence 

Kant's Categorical Imperative has counterparts in other moral theories, and it 
resonates with popular ideas like the "golden rule." It is not an exaggeration to 

68 Judith Lichtenberg 

say that something similar to this core idea can be found in most moral systems. 

The core idea is sometimes summed up in the question "what if everybody 
did that?" The hard work, Kant shows, is to figure out what the that refers to. 
As we have seen, the description of the that — the appropriate principle underly- 
ing what one proposes to do — has important implications for the legitimacy of 
the action or policy in question. 

"What if everybody did that?" suggests another central issue as well. A 
common answer is that not everybody will. Although this response did not 
impress Kant, or many who are sympathetic to his approach, others of a more 
practical bent have found it worth taking seriously. If the act that I am propos- 
ing will not affect what others do, why should I be moved by the argument that 
pothers did it the consequences would be unacceptable? If everybody plucked 
flowers from the public garden, the garden would have no flowers — a result, we 
may suppose, that is unacceptable to me. But what if I can be confident that 
most people will not follow my example, and that my flower plucking makes 
Terence to the garden's beauty and well 

We know Kant's answer: it is not a matter of mere consequences, but of con- 
sistency. It is wrong to treat yourself as special unless you can show that your 
circumstances are different in some relevant way — some way that legitimizes 
your acting in this way while others may not. The question is not whether 
people will actually follow your lead. 

Still, when the hypothetical fails to be met (most people do not pluck the 
flowers from the garden), we may be less satisfied with the answer. This brings 
us back to a point hinted at earlier, which must now be developed. Kant insists 
that moral beings act only on those principles that they can universalize; or, in 
other words, that persons ought to act only on such principles. Sartre's idea is 
slightly different. He asserts that when a person acts, he does — whether he likes 
it or not — legislate for all humanity, and indeed that everything "happens to 
every man as though the whole human race had its eyes fixed upon what he is 
doing and regulated its conduct accordingly." 

Such a statement sounds hyperbolic in the circumstances in which we are 
most likely to consider it. Most of the examples used to illustrate universalizability 
center on the private actions of individuals. The whole human race does not 
have its eyes fixed on a single individual in most of the circumstances in which he 
or she acts. And so we do not have to worry about the world regulating its 
conduct accordingly. Shall I (to use Sartre's famous example) join the resistance 
or stay home and take care of my aged mother? Shall I break my promise to 
meet my friend for lunch because a more attractive offer appears? Shall I walk 
across the lawn instead of on the path? Shoplift once in a while? Who will know? 

Some will know, of course, and they may adjust their behavior accordingly. 
My loose attitude toward keeping promises may get around among my acquain- 
tances, and they may take my promises less seriously or even take their own 
promises to me less seriously than they otherwise would have. But the idea that 
everyone everywhere — all of humanity — is watching closely and drawing con- 
clusions from my behavior seems in these contexts absurd. 

Pre-emplum and exceptionalism in U.S. foreign policy 69 

This is not so in the international arena, however, and certainly not in the 
era of instantaneous mass communications. What ancient Rome might have 
gotten away with Washington may not. Political action today takes place on a 
global stage. Everyone sees. And many ask, in the wake of American action, 
"what makes them different? What gives them the right to do this? If they can, 

It is possible that these observers are wrong. The U.S. might be relevantly 
different from other countries so that it would be justified in acting in ways that 
they would not. Earlier we examined some possible grounds for differences and 
found them wanting; we will return to this subject again. Nevertheless, the 
highly public nature of international political and military action in contem- 
porary times provides a powerful reason to proceed with the greatest of care — a 
reason over and above Kant's purely moral one. Peoples and states around the 
world are suffused with the ideas of equality, self-determination, and national 
pride. To assert one's own superiority and one's rights to do what they may not 
is insulting and humiliating. Speaking purely in terms of consequences and not 
principles, it is hard to see how good can come of it. 

No one likes to be confronted with another's flagrant assertion of superiority, 
even if the assertion is warranted. Countries are no different, and it has always 
seemed surprising when U.S. leaders such as President George W. Bush think 
nothing of announcing that the country is "the greatest nation on earth" within 
earshot of the rest of the world. At the very least, it is bound to create animos- 
ity. What else we should say about it depends on what it means. That the U.S. 
is the richest? The strongest? These claims are true. But the suggestion is of 
something more: we are morally superior, or somehow at least more important. 

Similarly, when Washington's official policy asserts, "Our forces will be 
strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build- 
up in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States," 12 it is 
not hard to see why other nations might object. That no one should be our 
superior may be an acceptable aim; that no one is permitted to be our equal — 
as asserted in the September 2002 "National Security Strategy" — is another 

"American exceptionalism," an idea often credited to Alexis de Tocqueville, 
has been defined as the view that "the United States was created differently, 
developed differently, and thus has to be understood differently — essentially on 
its own terms and within its own context." 13 The concept has been employed 
mostly to explain why throughout its history the U.S. has not had a significant 
labor or socialist movement. 14 One might complain that the claim of exception- 
alism is confused. Every country is unique, after all. But perhaps some are more 
unique than others. In any case, U.S. exceptionalism has traditionally been 
employed as a way to explain why the country does not conform to explanatory 
models appropriate to other countries, not as a license for action. Today, 
however, U.S. exceptionalism seems to describe not so much the explanatory 
framework appropriate to understanding the historical development of the 
United States, but the moral rights that it has arrogated to itself. 

70 Judith Lichtenberg 

Principles of humanitarian intervention 

An argument for military action in places like Iraq thai v 

invokes a principle of what some call "humanitarian i: 

approximation of such a principle might look some aple Seven: States 

may intervene militarily in the affairs of other states to prevent or end severe and widespread 

vwlalitms nf human rights. 

We did not consider this principle earlier because it was not, according to 
credible accounts, the central reason for U.S. intervention in Iraq; rather it 
seemed to function as a by-product or perhaps a secondary reason. Up until the 
war began, the arguments made for intervention had to do primarily with U.S. 
national security and self-defense. More recently, however, the argument based 
on Iraqi liberation has assumed greater prominence as hard evidence for WMD 
and links to Al Qaeda has not materialized. 

The humanitarian and prudential arguments are intertwined. Iraqi freedom 
and democracy are good not only for Iraqis but, as Washington now seems to 
argue, for U.S. interests as well. There are reasons to doubt the second claim. 
According to recent polls, more than 90 percent of the people in Arab and 
Middle Eastern countries are hostile to or disapprove of the United States. 15 If 
these states become more democratic, thereby better representing popular 
opinion, it is not easy to see how narrowly defined U.S. interests will benefit. 
Leaving this large problem aside, few would disagree that Saddam Hussein was 
a brutal and repressive tyrant responsible for gross violations of human rights. 
Two conclusions seem to follow: that the Iraqis would be well rid of Saddam 
Hussein and that he has no right to rule Iraq. 

Many liberals who favored military action in places like Bosnia, Kosovo, 
Somalia, and Rwanda found themselves forced to refme their understanding of 
the principle of humanitarian intervention when it came to Iraq. If Saddam 
Hussein was so bad, why was war not justified to overthrow him? If liberal dis- 
trust of the Bush administration concerning Iraq was justified, what did that say 
about the legitimacy of the principle of humanitarian intervention? Was liberal 
hypocrisy at work in the decision about which oppressive states to fight? 

At least two factors underlay the widespread doubts about humanitarian 
intervention as a principle justifying war in Iraq. One had to do with motive, 
the other with the prospects of success. These doubts too are intertwined. 

Many people here and abroad doubted that humanitarian considerations 
were the primary or even a significant motive in the decision to invade Iraq. Let 
us suppose that their skepticism was justified. What difference does this fact 
make? I argued earlier that it is extremely difficult at best to know the motives 
of states, and better for that reason and others to avoid inquiries that require 
knowledge of motives. Yet how can we decide whether the principle of humani- 
tarian intervention would justify war in Iraq without knowing whether this was 
the principle — or at least a principle — underlying U.S. action? 

To answer this difficult question it is helpful to examine the other source of 
doubt about the principle of humanitarian intervention, which concerns the 

Pre-emption and exceptionalism in U.S. foreign policy 71 

prospects of success. Much has been written on this subject specifically about 
Iraq, and many people have argued that winning the war was the easiest part of 
the undertaking. Probably the two biggest problems cited are the inherent diffi- 
culty of imposing democracy, liberty, and respect for human rights from outside, 
and the negative effects of U.S. intervention on the beliefs and attitudes of 
people in Iraq and elsewhere in the region and beyond. It is probably still too 
early to say whether or to what extent these fears will be borne out sufficiently 
to undermine any potential positive effects of intervention. 

Such concerns make clear that an acceptable principle of humanitarian 
intervention must be more refined than the crude one proposed as Principle 
Seven. For one thing, the probability of success must be fairly high to justify 
intervention. Thus the agent must have weighed the risks and costs of interven- 
ing against the benefits and must have been warranted in concluding that the 
benefits outweighed the risks. That in turn requires a firm commitment on the 
part of the agent to ensure that the risks of failure do not come to pass. So, for 
example, if one's aim were to bring democracy to a region where democracy 
has not existed, a long-term commitment to nation-building would seem to be 

Even if a state would be well rid of its leader and even if he has no right to 
rule (certainly true of Iraq and Saddam Hussein, respectively), it does not follow 
that all things considered it would be sensible to intervene militarily to bring- 
about the dictator's downfall and other desired outcomes. An enormously signif- 
icant factor is the will of the people in whose country one is proposing to 
intervene. In the paradigm case of justified intervention, oppressed or perse- 
cuted people seek help from sympathetic outsiders to help determine their 
destiny. Of course, when people are sufficiently oppressed and persecuted, they 
will not necessarily be able to communicate their wishes freely, making it diffi- 
cult to discern their will. But a central question must always be whether the 
people inside desire the involvement of outsiders. If they do not, the term 
"humanitarian intervention" will be highly suspect. 

These considerations help to bridge the gap between the two concerns raised 
by critics of such humanitarian intervention: motive and probability of success. 
We should not judge the legitimacy of a state's action based on its motives, but 
its motives will inevitably figure indirectly in the principles that characterize its 

In light of these remarks, a better principle than Principle Seven would be 
Principle Eight, which adds a crucial clause: States may intervene militarily in the 
affairs of other states to prevent or end severe and widespread violations of human rights, when 
they have very good reason to believe that the benefits of intervention will outweigh the costs. A 
full understanding of the meaning of this principle would require spelling out 
the possible benefits and the possible costs, among other things. There will be 
disagreement here both about their nature and about their probability. In addi- 
tion, the agent must have good reason to believe the benefits will outweigh the 
costs — an objective condition that must be satisfied. 

This statement of the principle is attractive partly because it avoids the need 

/2 Judith Lichtenberg 

to inquire directly into the motives of agents, while building in the relevant 
questions in an appropriate way. If the U.S. had had good reason to believe 
that the benefits of intervention would outweigh its costs (and assuming we 
could reach agreement on the meaning and truth of this claim), it would have 
been justified in invading Iraq, whether or not humanitarian intervention was 
its motive. Principle Eight satisfies (or in any case comes closer than any of the 
other principles to satisfying) both Kant's question and Sartre's: what if every- 
body did that? What if everybody saw you doing that? 


1 I am grateful to David Luban and Sam Kerstein for comments and suggestions on 
an earlier draft. 

2 Quoted in Walter Kaufmann, ed.. Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre (Cleveland, 
OH: Meridian Books, 1956), pp. 292-3. 

3 Henry Kissinger, "Iraq Is Becoming Bush's Most Difficult Challenge," Chicago 
Tribune, August 11,2002. 

4 Immanuel Kant, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, trans. Lew is White Beck (Indi- 
anapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1959), p. 39. 

5 Kant intended the Categorical Imperative in a stronger sense. He believed that for 
some actions, "their maxim cannot even be thought as a universal law of nature 
without contradiction"; for others, although "this internal impossibility is not found 
... it is still impossible to icill that their maxims should be raised to the universality 
of a law of nature" (ibid., pp. 41-2). These are very strong claims, in keeping with 
Kant's aim of establishing objective moral requirements. As many commentators 
have argued, it doubtful that they can be met. A weaker, un ire subjective interpreta- 
tion that nevertheless has important implications for morality is the one given here, 
according to which agents must assess die lcgiiimacv of their actions liv iheir willing- 
ness to accept the universalized versions of the maxims that describe their reasons 
for acting. 

6 The existentialists' emphasis on the centrality of choice may seem to make this inter- 
pretation implausible. But that conclusion fails to appreciate existentialism's central 
paradox that the only thing you cannot choose is not to choose; you have no choice 
but to choose. "Man makes himself. . . by the choice of his morality, and he cannot 
but choose a morality, such is the pressure of circumstances upon him" (Sartre, 
"Existentialism Is a Humanism," p. 306). 

7 Some argue the precise analogue of the realist thesis with regard to individuals. Psy- 
chological egoism is the claim that individuals always act only to advance their own 
perceived self-interest. Philosophers have argued convincingly that this view is either 
tautological or false. 

8 Our focus here is on public policy and not all forms of interpersonal behavior. 
Perhaps a person does not need a reason to treat one friend differently from another 

although from a certain point of view having a reason to act differently in one case 
rather than another seems almost a requirement of rationality). 

9 John Rawls, "Justice as Fairness," Philosophical Review 67, no. 2 (April 1958), 
pp. 164-94 at p. 171. 

10 For a discussion of this view see Michael Walzer. Just and I'njust Wars, 3rd edition 
(New York: Basic Books, 2000), pp. 61-2. 

1 1 See David Luban, "Just War and Human Rights," Philosophy and Public Affairs 9, 
no. 2 (Winter 1980), pp. 160-81; and Allen Buchanan, Justice, Legitimacy, and Self 
Determination: Moral Foundations of International Law ;Xew York: Oxford University 
Press, forthcoming). 

Pre-emption and exceptionalism in U.S. foreign policy 73 

12 National Security Strategy of the United States of America, http://www.whitehouse. 

13 Byron Shafer, ed., Is America Different? (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), 
p. v. See Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, vol. II (New York: Random 
House, Inc., 1970), pp. 36-7: "The position of the Americans is therefore quite 
exceptional, and it may be believed that no democratic people will ever be placed in 
a similar one. Their strictly Puritanical origin, their exclusively commercial habits, 
even the country they inhabit, which seems to divert their minds from the pursuit of 
science, literature, and the arts, the proximity of Europe, which allows them to 
neglect these pursuits without relapsing into barbarism, a thousand special causes, of 
which I have only been able to point out the most important, have singularly con- 
curred to fix the mind of the American upon purely practical objects . . . Let us 
cease, then, to view all democratic nations under the example of the American 
people, and attempt to survey them at length with their own features." I thank 
Laura Hussey for directing me to this passage and for help on this section. 

14 See Seymour Martin Lipset, American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword (New York: 
W.W. Norton and Company, 1997). 

15 See Shibley Telhami, "Arab Public Opinion — A Survey in Six Countries," San Jose 
Mercury, March 16,2003. 

Part 2 

Human rights and the 
war on terrorism 

U.S. foreign policy and human 
rights in an era of insecurity 

The Bush administration and human 
rights after September 1 1 

David P. Forsythe 

Human rights has a most ambiguous position in routine U.S. foreign policy. 
The subject in general is firmly fixed on the agenda, but its specific importance 
varies enormously across administrations and within the same administration at 
different times and on different issues. Even before the attacks on September 1 1 , 
2001, the George W. Bi lion had demonstrated a unilateralist and 

ultra-nationalist approach to most foreign policy issues, including human rights. 
As a general rule, security crises or the perception of national insecurity drives 
human rights lower among policy priorities. Thus as we would expect after the 
tragic attacks on New York City and Washington, the administration reduced its 
support for international human rights issues such as criminal justice, democ- 
racy promotion, and welfare rights. It also continued a strong unilateralist and 
ultra-nationalist approach to these issues. 1 

Human rights and routine foreign policy 

Before we can say what has changed, if anything, on human rights in U.S. 
foreign policy after September 1 1 , we need at least a cursory understanding of 
the subject in routine times. Starting in the mid-1970s, when Congress insisted 
that U.S. foreign policy pay considerable attention to human rights, all adminis- 
trations have listed human rights among the official priorities of their foreign 
policy. Nevertheless, no administration has been able to secure a lasting and 
bipartisan commitment to specific human lights across time, situations, and 
issues. Neither the supposedly most realist administration (Richard M. Nixon's) 
nor initially the most liberal (Jimmy Carter's), nor any other came up with a 
white paper on human rights that both commanded broad support and had a 
serious policy impact. 

This situation obtains because certain ideologies or ideational traditions 
regularly compete for dominance in thinking about human rights and foreign 
policy, but none of them consistently dominates. I speak primarily of two cul- 
tural ideologies: exceptionalism and isolationism reborn as unilateralism; and 
two intellectual ideologies, liberalism and realism. 

U.S. exceptionalism — the notion that the U.S. reflects a great nation that 
is not ordinary but rather is divinely inspired to lead the world to greater 

78 David P. Forsythe 

freedom — comes closest to being the dominant ideology. But as articulated most 
clearly in modern times by Ronald Reagan, it does not easily give insights into 
particular policies. Blended with a crusading or militant internationalism by 
Reagan to roll back communism, U.S. exceptionalism has also been linked to an 
American isolationism that seeks to lead by example at home (by perfecting U.S. 
society and thus providing "the shining City on a Hill" for others to emulate). 2 

The current administration shows many similarities to the Reagan period. 
U.S. exceptionalism, for example, contributed to the pronounced pique directed 
mainly against France for opposing the use of force to topple Saddam Hussein. 
In Washington there was deep resentment against Paris for having the audacity 
to lead the opposition against what the U.S. desired. Bush's evident tendency to 
see himself and the U.S. as on the side of the angels against the butcher of 
Baghdad was reminiscent of President Reagan's speech about the Soviet Union 
as an evil empire. These moralistic inclinations are historically grounded in the 
U.S. self-image of an exceptionally good nation that is inherently worthy of 
support by all right-thinking persons. 3 

Unilateralism, easily blended with U.S. exceptionalism, is the preferred 
course of action for many policy-makers, since it allows Washington to walk 
away from inconvenient situations, such as genocide in Rwanda in 1 994, thus 
displaying its historic links to isolationism. 4 Liberalism, usually associated first 
with Woodrow Wilson's foreign policy, emphasizes the possibilities of peaceful 
change through reliance on international law, organization, and human rights. 
It also tends to emphasize multilateral arrangements like collective security. 5 At 
the same time, realism, a foreign policy idea associated more recently with 
Henry Kissinger and perhaps historically with Theodore Roosevelt, places 
emphasis on states and their use of force in a hostile and primitive setting. 6 
Realism is predicated on a hostile international environment either because of 
the "nature of man" or because of systematic insecurity involving the absence of 
international government. 

Nixon aside, most presidents especially former governors without wide 
foreign policy experience — have not thought deeply (or sometimes at all) about 
which of these ideational traditions, or which combination, best explains the 
past or is best suited to approaching international relations. Carter admitted this 
in his memoirs with regard to human rights, and the same is patently the case 
with reference to Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. Granted 
that Reagan and George W. Bush came into office with an intuitive commit- 
ment to U.S. exceptionalism, it is still the case that they did not display a 
carefully considered position on whether this type of nationalism could or 
should be combined with unilateralism or multilateralism, or with the more 
optimistic liberalism or the more pessimistic realism. Was Wilson or Teddy 
Roosevelt the model to emulate, or perhaps someone like Franklin D. Roose- 
velt, who displayed both liberal and realist orientations.' 

These ideational tensions leave us with considerable uncertainty about 
the George W. bush administration and human rights in foreign policy after 
September 1 1 . Given that its basic orientations are toward exceptionalism, uni- 

U.S. foreign policy and human rights in an era of insecurity /9 

lateralism, and realism, it is well worth asking to what extent this administration 
can be brought to recognize the practical need for multilateralism in support of 
a basically liberal world order. After military victory in Iraq, will the adminis- 
tration increasingly turn to the United Nations in order to broaden its 
legitimacy and practical support? For the same reasons, will it be scrupulous in 
its respect for the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1 949 regulating the occupation 
of foreign territory? In efforts to construct a new and democratic Iraq, how 
much serious attention will the current administration give to international stan- 
dards on such matters? 

Compounding the problem of ideational competition and initial lack of 
clarity about how to lead a superpower (now the only hyperpower, as the 
French say) is a broad and diffuse policy-making process. In routine times pres- 
idents have great difficulty in controlling the foreign policy agenda, let alone 
outcomes. Individual members of Congress like Jesse Helms or Henry Jackson, 
or factions like the Black Caucus (at least on Haiti) or Christiai 
(at least on religious freedom) can exercise great influence, ; 
groups, bureaucratic entities, and the communications media. The result is that 
different views prevail on different issues at different times. Nixon and Kissinger 
had to make adjustments to their realist policy of detente with European com- 
munists in order to make more space for human rights in the Helsinki Process. 
Clinton had to make more room for attention to religious freedom, at the 
expense of more com] :>ns with certain allies like Saudi Arabia. 

At the time of writing, the Bush administration has not had to face deter- 
mined and effective opposition from Democrats in Congress on matters under 
review here. While a few individuals like Senator William Byrd of West Virginia 
were caustic in their criticisms of foreign policy, most Democrats in either house 
were not. Once the major combat operations went well in both Afghanistan 
and Iraq, and with public support at approximately 70 percent, the Bush 
administration was spared effective critique. Republican critics of Bush foreign 
policy, such as Senator Charles Hagel of Nebraska, placed their criticisms 
within a broader party loyalty and showed general support for the President. 

Two further points are now especially relevant to a discussion of why U.S. 
foreign policy on human rights shows so much ambiguity. Social science 
research can demonstrate both that human rights in foreign policy are more a 
Democratic than a Republican issue/ and that situations of war and threats to 
security correlate negatively with human rights protection. 8 Thus there is a 
great probability that the importance of human rights abroad will vary accord- 
ing to which party controls power in each branch of government, and whether 
security threats are more or less perceived and emphasized. Given that Repub- 
lican administrations are prone to emphasize traditional national security and 
the pursuit of economic interests rather than human rights under normal cir- 
cumstances, only a quite except sinistration would make 
international human rights a high priority when the country has been physically 

Finally, it is relevant that when a president is determined to use military 

80 David P. Forsythe 

force abroad, the Congress cannot say "no" in the short term. 9 This has been 
true of all presidents since Harry Truman and the Korean War, and it was cer- 
tainly true for Reagan in Lebanon (and the Caribbean and Central America), 
and for Clinton in the Balkans. It is only after a policy of force is going off the 
rails that Congress can generally muster a consensus to say "no" to a president. 
This was one of the lessons of Vietnam, and in an incipient way it was brought 
home to Reagan regarding Lebanon and Clinton regarding Somalia. When the 
president is determined to use force abroad in the name of national security, the 
role of Congress is reduced, at least in the short term, and along with it the 
attention to various specific human rights that many members of Congress 

Prior to September 200 1 , the ultra-nationalist and unilateralist preferences of 
the Bush administration were evident, contradicting the Bush campaign 
promise to be "humble" in foreign policy. Examples of U.S. exceptionalism per- 
meated the Inaugural Address. 10 On the first anniversary of September 1 1, the 
President stated that "we know that God had placed us together in this moment 
. . . our cause is even larger than our country. Ours is the cause of human 
dignity . . . this ideal of America is the hope of all mankind." 11 When the U.S. 
for the first time was not elected to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, the 
President — overlooking the U.S. role in human rights violations in many coun- 
tries such as Chile and Indonesia during the Cold War — asked with apparently 
genuine astonishment how the world organization could possibly have a 
Human Rights Commission without the U.S. At West Point the President 
referred to the country as the "single surviving model of human progress." 12 
When the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, pub- 
licly raised questions about U.S. commitment to human rights in places like 
China, the Bush administration lobbied for her removal (just as the Reagan 
administration had successfully pressed for the removal of U.N. Director for 
Human Rights Theo van Boven, after he had proven inconvenient in pressing 
Argentina in the 1970s, then a U.S. ally, to clean up its Dirty War). The Bush 
administration also moved brusquely to unilaterally replace other persons whose 
views did not accord with administration policy, such as the head of the Orga- 
nization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the head of the 
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 11 

Later the President was to say that Saddam Hussein had been "stilling the 
world" on arms control in Iraq. 14 This was in the face of the U.S.'s refusal to 
support international agreements relating to the International Criminal Court 
(ICC), global warming, trade in light weapons, improvements to treaties on bio- 
logical weapons, children's rights, women's rights, and the future of the missile 
defense treaty. On these (and other) subjects many countries wanted continued, 
if not more, international regulation. The Bush administration rejected these 
views and in most cases offered no new ideas about how to cope with evident 
international problems. Thus the administration rejected the Kyoto Protocol, 
but offered no serious alternative for dealing with global warming, walked away 
from the conference on trade in light arms without apparent concern for the 

U.S. foreign policy and human rights in an era of insecurity 81 

basic problem (perhaps because of its status as the world's leading arms 
exporter), and refused to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child 
despite unanimous endorsement from all existing governments. 

Many centrist commentators noted this pattern, characterizing Bush foreign 
policy as one of "insolent exceptionalism," or "arrogant," or objectionable and 
self-defeating in its self-serving "double standards." 1 '' An early summary judg- 
ment by the syndicated columnist William Pfaff is worth noting : 

The motivation of the new decision-makers in Washington is quite simple. 
They want the United States to have its way. They do not want to rule the 
world . . . They believe that the United States is the best of all countries, 
with the right ideas; that it deserves to prevail in international disputes 
because it is right. 16 

Said Ramesh Thakur wrote in the International Herald Tribune, "But Washington 
cannot construct a world in which all have to obey universal norms and rules, 
while it can opt out whenever, as often, and for as long as it likes." 17 It bears 
emphasizing that these commentators are not known for persistent U.S.- 
bashing. They are widely read and generally respected in the West. 

There were, of course, many commentators who supported the administra- 
tion's approach to foreign policy, including to international human rights. 18 
There were also elements of a cosmetic or superficial multilateralism. For 
example, the Bush administration announced the intention to rejoin the United 
Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). But 
this announcement came at a time when the administration was under broad 
attack for its unilateralism, and was essentially a sop to this criticism. UNESCO, 
moreover, does not loom large in Bush foreign policy. True, Secretary of State 
Colin Powell persuaded the President to take the issue of Iraq to the U.N., but 
the President made clear from the beginning of this demarche that the U.S. 
would use force against Iraq regardless of the position taken by the Security 
Council, which is exactly what transpired. 

Given the nature of U.S. foreign policy in general, and concomitantly a 
"made in America" approach to many human rights issues, it was perplexing to 
think that better packaging and marketing would lead to more deference 
abroad — although a panel under the aegis of the venerable Council on Foreign 
Relations recommended a better sales pitch. The fundamental problem was 
more in the message than in the delivery. 19 No less than the President of the 
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace branded the Bush administration 
as "an aggressive new Rome." 20 

International criminal justice after September 1 1 

The Bush administration inherited strong Washington opposition to the new 
International Criminal Court. The Clinton administration had belatedly signed 
the Rome Statute of 1998 creating the first permanent international criminal 

82 David P. Forsythe 

court. But strong opposition from the Pentagon and from a broad bipartisan 
coalition in Congress meant that Clinton was never able to really endorse the 
ICC or send the Rome Statute forward for the advice and consent of the 
Senate. Clinton could not guarantee to the ICC's critics that Americans would 
never have to appear as defendants before it. Beneath various smoke screens 
about a rogue prosecutor and politically motivated charges, arguments that 
were discounted by most international legal experts and human rights organiza- 
tions in the U.S., lay U.S. exceptionalism and unilateralism — along with 
enormous power. 

True, what was at issue was the semi-revolutionary idea that national leaders 
should have to answer to an international court for charges of war crimes. This 
was not a completely new idea, given the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals of 
the 1940s, and the U.N. tribunals of the 1990s for the former Yugoslavia and 
for Rwanda. Still, the notion that U.S. elected leaders, and top policy-makers 
approved by democratically elected leaders, should have to answer to an inter- 
national criminal tribunal was not exactly seen with great enthusiasm across the 
political class. What was semi-revolutionary was the notion that U.S. citizens 
were not exceptional, but were to be potentially judged like the rest. 

The Bush administration took the truly unusual step of "unsigning" the 
Rome Statute. It blocked further movement on all U.N. peacekeeping matters 
until the Security Council granted a one-year guarantee that U.S. personnel 
would be exempted from any charges before the ICC while serving in U.N.- 
approved deployments of force — a guarantee that was renewed for another year 
in June 2003. It pressured states to grant bilateral agreements guaranteeing that 
no U.S. citizen would be turned over to the ICC for any charges arising from 
events in that particular state. It engaged in public disputes with the European 
Union over this issue, with unhappy applicants to the E.U. caught in the middle 
of conflicting threats and pressures. Thus in various ways adding up to what the 
New York Times accurately termed an "ugly overreaction," 21 the Bush adminis- 
tration tried to ensure that the ICC would not be able to exercise its jurisdiction 
and authority over any U.S. citizen. All of this had the strong support of 
members of Congress, including many Democrats, who passed the American 
Servicemen's Protection Act, which among other things authorized the presi- 
dent to use force to liberate any American detained in relation to the ICC (the 
so-called Hague Invasion Act). 

Some perspective is in order. The ICC only exercises its complementary 
authority if and when a state fails to properly investigate, and if prosecution is 
warranted in relation to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. 
States retain primary responsibility in these matters. If the U.S. properly 
addresses such subjects, the ICC stays on the shelf. A prosecutor who wishes to 
advance an indictment must first get the approval of a three-judge chamber of 
the court. Thus the prosecutor is not free to do as he or she wishes. Moreover, 
all North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies, including some like 
Britain and France that have frequently used force abroad, have ratified the 
Rome Statute. The total number of ratifications in mid-2003 was almost 90. 

U.S. foreign policy and human rights in an era of insecurity 83 

There are few, if any, independent legal scholars or respected human rights 
organizations that think that there is a high probability of U.S. citizens serving 
as defendants in the ICC in politically inspired trials. 

Finally, under the notion of universal jurisdiction that attaches to grave 
breaches of international humanitarian law, crimes against humanity, and geno- 
cide, U.S. citizens can already be arrested and tried by any state. The ICC at 
least gives the U.S. the right to initiate its own proceedings when and if charges 
are filed. The ICC also offers improved guarantees of a fair trial compared to 
many states that theoretically might arrest Americans under the principle of 
universal jurisdiction. Moreover, the U.S. Constitution does not travel abroad 
with U.S. citizens; those arrested and tried in a foreign jurisdiction have no 
recourse to U.S. laws. The ICC makes no change in this situation. Further- 
more, U.S. citizens court-martialed for war crimes are tried in military courts 
that do not have trial by jury as known in civilian courts. 

Nevertheless, the Bush administration has been as adamantly against the 
ICC as was Jesse Helms before his retirement from the Senate. John Bolton, 
formerly an official in the Reagan administration and on record with the truly 
original view that treaties are not really law, was made Bush's point-man to 
keep the ICC at bay. 22 On the basis partly of exceptionalism and partly of 
realism, the administration, with strong bipartisan support in Congress, is not 
prepared to have its decisions on targets and choice of weapons in armed con- 
flict subjected to authoritative international legal review. Such matters as the 
bombing of dual-use targets (for example, TV facilities in Belgrade and 
Baghdad), or the use of depleted uranium shells to pierce enemy armor (alleged 
to still be causing health hazards in Kosovo and southern Iraq, among other 
places), and the use of cluster bombs in civilian areas (at issue in both 
istan and Iraq) raise serious legal issues about war crimes. 

Given that neither Congress nor the courts are likely to conduct a proper 
review of such matters, it is possible that a responsible prosecutor of the ICC 
might wish to question such policy by way of an indictment — not of lower- 
ranking military personnel but of high policy-makers. 23 Whether the first 
prosecutor of the ICC, a distinguished Argentine lawyer who was involved in 
criminal proceedings against former military leaders in that country, and who 
has taught at the Harvard and Stanford law schools, would be inclined to 
pursue such matters is a good question. 

Rather than seriously review controversial policies about targeting and 
weaponry, the Bush administration prefers to undercut the ICC at the cost of 
increased friction with its NATO allies and others. And at the end of the war in 
Iraq, the Bush team moved toward creation of national military courts to 
pursue various legal charges against both Iraqis and those detained in the pre- 
ceding armed conflict in Afghanistan. Predictably, the administration was 
widely criticized for not utilizing the ICC or some other multilateral arrange- 
ment. The administration could have turned over top Iraqi officials for trials 
that would have broad international support. U.S. legal proceedings against 
those captured in relation to Afghanistan and Iraq inherently raise questions 

84 David P. Forsythe 

about fair trials, victor's justice, and whether Washington is going to repeat the 
procedures used in the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals, which are often viewed 
as poor legal precedents. 

The basic rationale for the ICC is that it serves as an inducement to states to 
exercise primary responsibility to enforce the law regarding war crimes, crimes 
against humanity, and genocide. As was true of the Clinton administration in 
Rwanda during 1994, the Bush administration finds that taking the law seri- 
ously can sometimes complicate its independence and desire to avoid certain 
issues. The current administration resembles earlier ones in that it is more inter- 
ested in national independence than in giving serious attention to international 
criminal law. Most members of Congress, including most Democrats, support 
this orientation. 24 U.S. nationalism has trumped reasonable concern for more 
effective international law on genocide, war crimes, and other gross violations of 
human rights. 

One sees this ultra-nationalist and unilateralist orientation by the Bush 
administration not only on international criminal justice, but also on the closely 
related subject of applying intern; litarian law to the detainees held 

at Guantanamo. 25 Despite the evident armed conflict in which it was participat- 
ing in Afghanistan, the administration initially argued that the 1949 Geneva 
Conventions did not apply to any of the detainees. This obviously was at odds 
with reality, and the administration then contended that while Taliban fighters 
might fall under the Geneva law, they would not benefit from prisoner of war 
(POW) status. Article 5 of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949 requires that 
an independent tribunal decide the status of detainees in contested cases, and 
that until that judgment is rendered the detainee should be treated as if he or 
she were a POW. 

Further, the administration refused to accord any status under the 1949 
Geneva Conventions to Al Qaeda detainees. If such detainees are not covered 
by the Third Geneva Convention pertaining to irregular forces, they are almost 
certainly covered by the Fourth, pertaining to civilians who fall into the hands 
of an adversary during international armed conflict as long as their state is a 
party to the conventions. This the Bush administration flatly refuses to accept. 

Although the Bush team does allow the International Committee of the Red 
Cross (ICRC) to regularly visit the detainees at Guantanamo, which has largely 
satisfied Congress, other parties continue to raise questions about whether the 
U.S. is violating international humanitarian law. A British court did so in the 
fall of 2002. 26 These critics sometimes point out, moreover, that the U.S. has 
special forces abroad out of uniform, and thus has an interest in careful atten- 
tion to the terms of that law. The Bush administration seems to prefer as free a 
hand as possible with regard to the long detention and prolonged interrogation 
of detainees who are held without access to legal counsel. It should be noted 
that not every violation of the Geneva Conventions is a war crime that leads to 
individual prosecution, and it is unlikely that any U.S. official would ever have 
to answer for these detention policies at the ICC. These potential U.S. viola- 
tions of the Third and Fourth Geneva Conventions of 1949 would not be 

U.S. foreign policy and human rights in an era of insecurity 85 

defined as grave breaches and thus do not constitute war crimes in terms of the 
Rome Statute; moreover, the prosecutor can only pursue indictments for acts 
occurring after July 1, 2002. But they still indicate a self-serving unilateralism 
that rankles others, particularly states whose nationals are detained. They also 
suggest that playing fast and loose with treaty law is an approach to multilateral 
arrangements that is not in the U.S.'s long-term self-interest. 

As expected, in the war in Iraq of 2003, the U.S. demanded proper attention 
to the Third Geneva Convention of 1949 when its military personnel were 
missing or were confirmed as captured by the Iraqi side. As in the 1991 Gulf 
war, in the hope of reciprocity, the U.S. gave considerable attention to that law 
with regard to the thousands of Iraqi combatants detained by U.S. and U.K. 
forces. All of this had no effect on Washington's views toward detainees at 
Guantanamo. Thus, when there was countervailing power bringing into play 
considerable self-interest, the U.S. was more careful with legal argument. When 
there was no effective countervailing power, the U.S. manipulated the legal 
argument as it liked. In either case, however, Washington was unwilling for the 
ICC to have any say even as a back-up safeguard operating on the principle of 

It is true that the two U.N. ad hoc tribunals, one for the former Yugoslavia 
and one for Rwanda, did not function expeditiously and perfectly from their 
respective origins in 1993 and 1994. But both courts have evolved over time 
and produced an important record of holding high officials responsible for 
heinous acts. Both have contributed to the refinement of international law on 
genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, and to standards of univer- 
sal due process. Both have made positive contributions to other courts such as 
the ICC and to the other two transnational courts for Sierra Leone and Cam- 
bodia. There is nothing in the record of the two U.N. ad hoc courts and 
certainly not anything reflected in the actions of the international prosecutor 
that should give the U.S. pause about the ICC. 

It is also true that there are roads to social justice beyond juridical proceed- 
ings. Of late there has been much debate about truth commissions, apologies, 
reparations, and other non-judicial reactions to gross violations of human rights 
and humanitarian law. 27 Even if it is agreed that it was wise in places such as 
South Africa and El Salvador to forgo trials of national leaders for the atrocities 
of the past in favor of looking forward to the construction of a stable liberal 
democracy, such agreement does not undercut the value of the ICC. Under the 
Rome Statute, the Security Council can suspend ICC action for one year, 
renewable. Thus provision is made for the possible judgment that in some situa- 
tions one might want to bypass international criminal justice for other 
conceptions of justice. 

Democracy promotion after September 1 1 

President Bush's National Security Strategy of September 2002 is as much 
about democracy and freedom and human dignity as about fighting terrorism, 

86 David P. Forsythe 

and claims to pre-emptive self-defense. 28 Consistent with exceptionalism, the 
administration has always stressed its historic role to lead the global struggle for 
democracy. On the basis of executive discretion as well as bipartisan Congres- 
sional support, the U.S. in recent years has spent some $500 million per annum 
on democracy promotion programs. 29 Early efforts were directed to organizing 
and supervising elections, then to state-building via reform of governing agen- 
cies. Now the emphasis is on building civil society — creating the nonprofit 
private sector organizations that can exercise a vertical check on state institu- 
tions from below, while deepening citizen participation in public affairs. 

Bush administration rhetoric fits nicely with Congressionally mandated and 
funded programs. It is highly difficult to evaluate such programs, given that no 
one knows exactly what produces stable liberal democracy in a given country, 
and that the U.S. official role is but one factor out of many. 30 Most Western 
states, and international organizations like the Council of Europe, the European 
Union (E.U.), the Organization of American States (OAS), the Organization for 
Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the U.N., have democracy 
promotion programs. Thomas Carothers suggests that the U.S. focus should be 
supporting local volunteer service organizations dedicated to solving practical 
problems like adequate housing rather than Western-style professional advocacy 
groups. 31 

Perhaps the most important problem for the Bush team on this subject lies 
not in good intentions or grass roots efforts but in the consequences of defining 
the war against terrorism everywhere as the be-all and end-all of the adminis- 
tration. According to press reports, the President has determined that 
anti-terrorism will be the focus of his administration, that his is a wartime presi- 
dency, and that most other issues will just have to receive less of his time. 32 Such 
an articulated position necessarily reduces U.S. pressure on authoritarian or 
transition governments to move seriously to respect civil and political rights and 
genuinely implement liberal democracy. Foreign leaders know that if they coop- 
erate with Washington on anti-terrorism measures, for example on voting in the 
U.N. Security Council or on part ilitary coalitions, they will not be 

seriously sanctioned for dragging their feet on political reform. 

If the Bush team gets China to acquiesce in moves against terrorists, and 
reaches agreement with Beijing that certain groups in China's northwest Xin- 
jiang Province are terrorists, then the administration is certainly not going to 
sanction China for lack of serious political reform. 33 High-level pressure from 
Washington, if it ever existed, is thus alleviated in exchange for support on anti- 
terrorism measures. Of course the Bush team can adopt the Clinton approach 
to political reform in China: by pushing for economic freedom and the rule of 
law, one eventually will advance political freedom and individual rights. 

If one takes Uzbekistan and Egypt as examples, one can demonstrate the 
dynamic at work. Despil ion rhetoric stressing continuing interest in 

democracy, human rights, and political reform, the U.S. does not seriously press 
regimes on these "liberal" issues when they are deemed crucial for U.S. military 
and paramilitary operations in places like Afghanistan and Iraq. 34 Uzbekistan 

U.S. foreign policy and human rights in an era of insecurity 87 

was and is useful to the U.S. for its military operations in Afghanistan and 
neighboring areas after September 1 1 . At first the administration was quiet 
about that country's human rights record. But after certain members of Con- 
gress began to raise questions about the U.S. "dance with dictators," the 
administration shifted ground. 35 U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democ- 
racy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) Lome W. Craner began to say all of the 
right things — namely that a lasting relationship between the two states had to 
be built on more than military cooperation, that it had to be based also on 
shared values pertaining to "hunger and poverty and political freedom." 36 The 
DRL used its discretionary authority to make several grants to human rights 
groups in Uzbekistan: nongovernmental organization (NGO) capacity-building 
got $795,000, efforts to advance the rule of law got $500,000, political party 
development got $300, 000. 37 But things did not significantly change in the short 
run. The ICRC suspended its prison visits during April 2002, given that the 
regime of President Karimov did not agree to unfettered visits. Freedom House, 
which measures civil and political freedoms around the world, continued to give 
the Karimov government the worst possible score on political freedom and the 
next to worst possible score on civil freedom. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on 
Torture found that practice to be systematic in Uzbekistan. 38 Uzbekistan's lead- 
ership saw no need to make changes that would jeopardize its iron grip on 
power given the regime's value to the U.S. in the war on terrorism. Unlike the 
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which insisted 
on changes in civil and political rights in exchange for its loans, 39 the Bush 
administration did not try to use economic leverage to get the Karimov regime 
to liberalize. 

As for Egypt, the U.S. war on terrorism and the war in Iraq accentuated 
Cairo's strategic value. It has been the case for some time that the Hosni 
Mubarak regime is key to the U.S. on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute and other 
political disputes in the region. Thus the U.S. mosdy ignores the lack of democ- 
racy, systematic torture, persistent repression, and other violations of human 
rights in Egypt. The U.S. occasionally uses quiet diplomacy to tell the Mubarak 
regime when Egyptian repression may be creating political problems. The Bush 
administration did quietly protest the initial conviction of the well-known and 
well-connected Saadeddin Ibrahim and several associates on trumped-up charges 
and applauded the reversal of that conviction in early 2003. 4() But when the 
Mubarak regime renewed the emergency decrees that, recalling the Ferdinand 
Marcos era in the Philippines, allowed the government to continue authoritarian 
rule despite occasional elections, the Bush administration was silent. 

The Bush team now had additional reasons not to press Mubarak on such 
issues as authoritarianism, torture, gay rights, and lack of judicial due process. 
Amnesty International has consistently raised concern about these and other 
issues. 41 Freedom House for some time has given Egypt the next to worst possi- 
ble scores on both civil and political freedoms. If anything, Mubarak after 
September 2001 must feel more immune from foreign pressure. There were 
press reports that suspected terrorists were flown to Egypt to undergo harsh 

88 David P. Forsythe 

interrogation beyond the reach of both U.S. courts and the IGRC (which at the 
time of writing does not make prison visits there, since there is no armed con- 
flict, civil war, or pronounced domestic instability). 42 

U.S. democracy promotion is nonexistent in Egypt. There is no indication 
that Washington has pressed for democratic reforms under the logic that repres- 
sion and frustration breed terrorism against the West in countries such as Egypt, 
Saudi Arabia, and Algeria. Whether the trigger was repression condoned by the 
U.S., support for controversial Israeli policies, talk of invading Iraq, or some 
other reason, anti-American feeling was rampant in Egypt. 4 ' 5 Mubarak, 
however, advised against the U.S. invasion of Iraq on the grounds that such an 
attack would increase Arab and Islamic terrorism. 

It is certainly paradoxical at best that the Bush administration undertook war 
in Iraq in 2003 not only for alleged reasons of pre-emptive self-defense, but to 
liberate the Iraqi people from tyranny and to create a model democracy that 
will transform the Arab world. But to pursue that invasion, partly in the name 
of human rights and democracy, the Bush team has chosen to turn a blind eye 
to human rights and democracy in places like Uzbekistan and Egypt. 

The future is unpredictable, but it is likely that a group of scholars at the 
Brookings Institution is right: such a scenario for militant democracy promotion 
in Iraq is "a dangerous fantasy.'"* 4 Iraq is deeply divided between Arabs and 
Kurds, Shi'sa and Sunni, and between supporters and opponents of the 
Saddam Hussein regime. The opposition in exile is badly fractured, as are the 
Iraqi Kurds in the north. Divided societies can arrive at some type of democ- 
racy, witness Belgium or Lebanon in the past. But Iraq is a difficult case. Many 
Iraqis do not want the U.S. to linger and influence their political evolution after 
the Saddam Hussein regime. Moreover, Iran will clearly try to influence the 
course of political events in Iraq, where a pro-American government allowing 
U.S. military access can hardly be applauded by the clerics in power in Tehran. 
To the extent that there is a movement toward democracy in the Middle East, it 
is more likely to come in slow and incremental steps in places like Iran, where it 
is already under way, and not from U.S. occupation of divided Iraq. The U.S. 
has had troops in Bosnia since 1995, and, despite considerable multilateral help, 
movement toward liberal democracy is still quite fragile. 

The Bush administration continues to present itself as the leader for dem- 
ocracy promotion around the world. The war on terrorism supposedly 
accentuates the need for democracy, which presumably does not produce ter- 
rorists. 4 '' Yet the emphasis on the "war" against terrorism in fact reduces the 
prospect of actual high-level U.S. pressure for political reform in countries seen 
as crucial for success in that "war." The Bush team fought a war partly for 
democracy in Iraq, but at the same time the administration is a willing acces- 
sory to authoritarianism in many neighboring and other countries. Uzbekistan 
and especially Egypt are classic examples. 

U.S. foreign policy and human rights in an era of insecurity <>9 

Welfare rights after September 1 1 

The Bush administration inherited strong opposition to the International Crim- 
inal Court, as well as strong opposition to internationally recognized human 
rights pertaining to adequate food, clothing, shelter, and health care. I refer to 
these as "welfare rights," as distinct from other internationally recognized 
socioeconomic rights pertaining to labor and education. The latter are not 
opposed by Washington in principle, although they may not always receive as 
much attention as welfare rights in U.S. foreign policy. 46 

While Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke about the importance of "freedom from 
want," and while the Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen has argued that a person 
who lacks adequate medical care is not really a free person, 47 the U.S. has never 
been comfortable with that part of the 1 948 Universal Declaration of Human 
Rights that addresses welfare rights — the right to adequate food, clothing, 
shelter, and health care. When the U.S. endorses international human rights in 
the abstract, and when it presses other countries like China to take the Univer- 
sal Declaration seriously, the U.S. simply glosses over international welfare 
rights as if they did not exist. While in 1977 Carter signed the 1966 Inter- 
national Covenant of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, neither he nor 
any other president ever submitted it to the Senate for advice and consent. 

There is a broad consensus in the U.S. that food, clothing, shelter, and 
health care have nothing to do with fundamental human rights, but rather that 
they are desirable goods in private markets. To the extent that state involve- 
ment is necessary to help the less fortunate acquire adequate provisions, these 
are voluntary, non-obligatory governmental programs. Individuals have no enti- 
tlements. If provided, the state must meet civil rights provisions pertaining to 
equality of access and treatment. But the state is not obligated to start or con- 
tinue such programs. In November 2002 Oregon defeated a ballot proposal to 
provide "universal health care" for its citizens. Health care is treated as a 
human right in Canada and most other Western-style democracies. It has never 
been in the U.S. The emphasis in this area, as in most others, is on individual 
responsibility, market solutions, and small government. 

The Bush administration thus has manifested no interest in internationally 
recognized welfare rights. The tragic events of September 2001 made no differ- 
ence in this regard. The Bush administration, however, to the surprise of many 
observers, did announce a plan to double U.S. foreign assistance to certain 
countries of the global South. In part as a complement to the war on terrorism, 
the Bush team announced plans for a M allenge Account, which 

over several years was designed to increase U.S. foreign development assistance 
by five billion dollars. This fund was intended to help countries that engaged in 
several reforms, including movement toward "good governance." Debate has 
continued about refinement of the proposal. I " 

Much of the U.S. emphasis was clearly on getting countries to accept the 
neo-liberal model of economic growth that stressed more capitalism and free 
trade and less governmental involvement in the economy. It is relevant to recall 

90 David P. Forsythe 

that despite talk of U.S. support for democracy and humanitarian objectives in 
Russia and the Newly Independent States (NIS) formerly part of the Soviet 
empire, most of that foreign aid has gone for support for business and strictly 
market reform. 49 

But some of the rhetoric about the Mill lenge Account was on 

development through human rights and with attention to human dignity. There 
was thus some overlap with democracy promotion. There was also some 
increased attention in Washington to the problem of HIV/AIDS in such places 
as sub-Saharan Africa. The President promised a U.S. contribution to fighting 
this health crisis on humanitarian grounds. The administration was active in 
trying to get lower prices in developing countries for drugs needed in the treat- 
ment of HIV/AIDS, despite the World Trade Organization's Trade-Related 
Intellectual Property Rights agreement protecting patent rights of pharmaceuti- 
cal companies for 20 years. 

Thus, if the issue was not framed in terms of a human right to adequate food 
or health care, but was presented as a matter of voluntary foreign assistance to 
help the less fortunate, the Bush administration showed increased interest in the 
issue. Given that antecedent Republican administrations had minimized the role 
of foreign assistance for development, preferring the neo-liberal model with an 
emphasis on the role of direct foreign investment from the private sector, this 
considerable "bump" in U.S. development assistance, if Congress followed 
through on appropriation, was noteworthy. At an international meeting in Mon- 
terrey, Mexico, in 2002, the Bush administration was part of a North-South 
consensus that the developed countries should help in the advance of the devel- 
oping counties. 

Heretofore, most developed states projected their domestic models abroad 
on these issues.'' States that had large welfare programs at home tended to 
provide relatively high levels of developmental assistance (as a percentage of 
their gross domestic product). States, especially the U.S., that had small welfare 
states at home tended to have small levels of foreign assistance (again as a per- 
centage of the GDP). The Bush administration promised to break with this 
pattern at least somewhat, undoubtedly stirred by the war against terrorism. 

It still remained true that the Bush team rejected welfare rights as human 
rights, which reflected a societal consensus. Since the Great Depression, social 
democracy has been weak in the U.S. Carter and Clinton were not able to re- 
establish the Roosevelt tradition of viewing welfare rights as human rights. 
Carter tried, up to a point, whereas Clinton — being a "New Democrat" and 
presenting a "third way" that featured close ties to business — did not. 


In some ways the events of September 1 1 have not changed the U.S. approach 
to internationally recognized human rights very much, if at all. Washington con- 
tinues to view human rights as "international" mostly as a direct application of 
the U.S. domestic experience abroad. 51 It is very difficult to document a situa- 

U.S. foreign policy and human rights in an era of insecurity 91 

tion in which the U.S. has changed its stance on a human rights issue because of 
international pressure. 52 Thus, when in 1992 the U.S. ratified the International 
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which contains some provisions different 
from the U.S. Constitution concerning free speech, war propaganda, and the 
like, the Senate insisted on reservations, declarations, and understandings that 
amounted to a statement that the U.S. would not change any of its existing 
practices. That is precisely why the Netherlands challenged these statements as 
inconsistent with the purpose of the treaty, and thus not allowed under inter- 
national law. The U.S. endorses international human rights in the abstract, but 
practices a human rights policy that reflects cultural relativism and national par- 
ticularity. This is very clear on welfare rights and on the rights of the child. 0,5 

Is it difficult to understand why most countries resent the U.S.'s lecturing 
them on their human rights record? For example, the rest of the world at least 
formally agrees that children deserve special protection. But the U.S. is alone 
among states and continues to chart its own unilateral course on this matter, 
rejecting the treaty on the rights of the child. This situation undermines the 
"soft power" of the U.S. when it approaches other states on such matters as reli- 
gious freedom. Other countries have no obligation to implement the U.S. Bill of 
Rights, so when Washington is lax with international human rights standards, it 
undercuts U.S. leadership for human rights. 

Of course U.S. power still may come into play, and other countries may find 
it necessary to bend to Washington's desires. Belgrade finally decided to hand 
Slobodan Milosevic over to the U.N. ad hoc court at The Hague, lest Washing- 
ton continue to hold up important foreign assistance. 

But Washington's orientations certainly create frictions and resentments. 
Growing anti-U.S. fervor in the world is not just the product of foreign jealously 
of U.S. wealth and power, but more rationally results from a series of unilateral 
policies at variance with the considered judgment of many governments. We 
have already reviewed issues like global warming, trade in light arms, and the 
ban of anti-personnel landmines. The end result is that the objectives of U.S. 
foreign policy meet determined resistance and thus are achieved only with diffi- 
culty. Also, U.S. power ceases to be hegemonic, based on persuasion and 
"voluntary" cooperation. It becomes dominant power, imposed by coercion, 
which is more difficult and costly and in the long run more counterproductive 
to a peaceful world built on agreement. 

As already noted, the U.S. has never been very keen on the ICC as it took 
final shape at Rome in 1998. The U.S. was one of only seven states (and one of 
only two liberal democracies, Israel being the other) to vote against the Rome 
Statute. And Clinton never submitted it to the Senate for approval. But with 
U.S. use of force in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush administration is even more 
determined not to allow, if at all possible, the ICC to have the opportunity to 
review U.S. policy-makers' decisions about weapons and targets in armed con- 
flict. Rather than review policies that might reasonably lead to charges of war 
crimes, the Bush team prefers to undercut the ICC by seeking a special exemp- 
tion for all U.S. citizens — even at the cost of friction with allies, impediments to 

92 David P. Forsythe 

U.N. peacekeeping, and an imperiled court for the prosecution of those like 
Saddam Hussein who are truly a menace to both human rights and inter- 
national peace and security. The current administration's handling of this issue, 
with its bipartisan support, suggests more an ideological crusade on behalf of 
national authority and freedom of policy-making than a reasoned evaluation of 
the costs and benefits of effective international criminal justice. 

Given that U.S. citizens may still be subject to the jurisdiction of the ICC 
under present rules, U.S. opposition has created great friction with many states 
without making any fundamental change. A prosecutor can still bring charges 
against U.S. citizens. While this is unlikely, all of Washington's maneuvers have 
failed to alter legal facts. One does wonder whether long-term U.S. interests 
would not be better served by accepting the court, and at the same time under- 
taking a serious national review of policies that might turn out to be on the 
wrong side of international law. If the ICC is acceptable to Tony Blair and the 
United Kingdom, it is difficult to understand how it can be so deleterious for 
the United States. But here once again we have to take into account an emotive 
nationalism in the form of exceptionalism. 

Likewise, on international welfare rights, the Bush administration reflects 
little difference from previous Republican and Democratic administrations. 
There is a strong societal consensus against welfare rights as human rights, 
although that consensus does allow space for relatively small welfare programs. 
What is new in this domain is a Republican administration's promise of 
increased foreign assistance to deal with the less fortunate in the global South, 
which runs counter to the hegemonic neo-liberal model of economic growth 
featuring private-sector solutions to most problems. If we take the situation in 
sub-Saharan Africa as an example, however, no doubt one is on safe ground in 
surmising that the Bush administration is driven more by the desire to appear 
responsive to a human problem than by the argument that persons with 
HIV/AIDS have an internationally recognized right to adequate health care. 
Given the declared war on terrorism, the Bush team no doubt is more inter- 
ested in projecting itself as a sensitive and constructive international partner 
than as one that is obligated to help respond to the welfare rights of foreigners. 

There is a growing concern for international welfare rights in Western aca- 
demic circles. 54 There may also be some increased attention to these rights by 
certain NGOs like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, which 
now recognize how much poverty and its related ills contribute to denial of civil 
and political rights. Still, international welfare rights remain the stepchild of the 
global human rights movement. These rights even have secondary status in 
Europe where from time to time social democratic governments take them seri- 
ously. Thus it is doubtful that there will be a negative impact on U.S. foreign 
policy in the short term resulting from its disregard for socioeconomic rights. 
Other governments mostly do not care. Clearly the U.S. public is either apa- 
thetic, or supportive of the status quo. 

It is on the subject of democracy promotion that one sees the greatest change 
affecting the current administration's approach to a general human rights issue. 

U.S. foreign policy and human rights in an era of insecurity 93 

The rhetoric from Washington has not changed, and the administration still 
sees itself as the global leader for enlarging the democratic community. But in 
reality, the emphasis on a war against all terrorism as the defining characteristic 
of the administration means that U.S. officials cannot help but be ineffective in 
influencing political reform in allies and would-be partners in the short term. 
Foreign leaders know very well that the re. asis is on cooperation in 

the war on terrorism, not on democratic change that might undermine the 
power of the very leaders that are offering various types of concrete support to 
the U.S. The 2003 annual report of Amnesty International documents the 
decline of attention around the world to democracy and human rights because 
of U.S. foreign policy after September ll. 55 

It remains supremely ironic that in order to pursue a war allegedly in part 
for democracy in Iraq, Washington finds it useful to turn a blind eye to lack of 
democracy and related human rights violations in key supporting states such as 
Egypt or Pakistan. One wonders how long it will take for the evident contradic- 
tions in U.S. foreign policy on democracy promotion to make themselves felt in 
official circles in Washington and in the country. Perhaps continued resistance 
to political repression in states like Egypt and Pakistan will come to endanger 
the American connection as happened in Iran in the late 1970s. At the same 
time, as long as Pakistan makes an effective contribution to the arrest of Islamic 
terrorists, and as long as Egypt supports U.S. policy in the Israeli-Palestinian 
conflict, it is hi;; hat Washington will bring effective pressure to bear 

on Islamabad and Cairo in the name of democracy and human rights. 

Contemporary U.S. foreign policy on human rights is greatly affected by the 
ideas of exceptionalism, unilateralism, and realism. Exceptionalism remains 
strong, as the President sees the country as reflecting a divinely blessed great- 
ness. Unilateralism is under attack but remains strong. 56 American unilateral 
exceptionalism flourishes when backed by clear primacy of hard, coercive 
power. 57 Liberalism and human rights have reduced importance. A threatening 
international setting normally leads to the predominance of realism over liberal- 
ism. The normal process of making foreign policy has been tilted toward 
presidential power, as it always is in times of national insecurity. This primacy 
for security managers reduces the attention to many human rights issues that 
Congress normally pursues in its fragmented way. 

The decline in importance of most human rights issues in U.S. foreign policy 
can be anticipated when one finds a Republican administration perceiving a 
clear and present danger to national security. The inherent tension, however, 
between international human rights and national security could have been 
managed better by the Bush team. The war against terrorism could have been 
defined in less sweeping terms. The President could have made it clearer that 
protecting various human rights at home and abroad was just as important in 
undermining terrorism. 

In the last analysis, George W. Bush, who believes strongly in exceptional- 
ism, cannot provide strong leadership for truly international human rights. No 
president who believes that the U.S is divinely blessed and stands above human 

94 David P. Forsythe 

rights standards that hold for other states can exercise leadership on issues like 
the International Criminal Court. Such presidents will always oppose an equi- 
table international law in favor of absolute national sovereignty. Such presidents 
will always seek double standards that benefit the U.S. and deeply irritate other 
governments and citizens of other countries. Moreover, given the great military 
power of the U.S., it is difficult for Washington to accept muscular international 
law and organization. States with great power do not normally make great mul- 
tilateralists. 58 

What is really needed in the twenty-first century is presidential leadership 
that can reorient U.S. society to accept limits on state sovereignty and unilateral 
action, which are necessary for an equitably managed interdependent world. 
Recent presidents have been sorely lacking in this regard. The lack of effective 
attention to various human rights by the Bush team is but part of this larger 


1 The present analysis draws on two publications by the author: "The United States 
and International Criminal Justice." Human Rights Quarterly 24, no. 4 (November, 
2002), pp. 974-91; and "Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy," Journal of Human 
Rights 1, no. 4 (December 2002), pp. 501-21. The first part of the present analysis is 
cursory with the emphasis on what is distinctive about human rights in U.S. foreign 
policy since September 1 1 . 

2 For a modern defense of this latter position see Michael H. Hunt. Ideology and U.S. 
Foreign Policy (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1987). 

3 See further Michael O'Hanlon, "Why Rumsfeld Should Lay off the French," Inter- 
national Herald Tribune, May 28, 2003, But 
even this critique of U.S. policy fails to note that the French position opposing U.S. 
use of force was quite reasonable given widespread interpretations of international 

4 See, for example, Richard N. Haass, Intervention: The Use of American Military Tom in 
the Post-Cold War World (Washington: Brookings, 1999). 

5 Lloyd E. Ambrosius, W'ilumianism: Woodunc W'Umoi and His Legacy in American Foreign 
Relations (New York: Palgrave, 2002). 

6 Henry Kissinger regards Teddy Roosevelt as a realist; see 
Simon and Schuster, 1994). William Pfaff regards him as ; 
his Barbarian Sentiments (New York: Hill and Wang, 2000). 

7 See further, for example, Ole Holsti, "Public opinion on human rights in American 
foreign policy," in David P. Forsythe, ed., The United States and Human Right-,: Looking 
Inward and Outward (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2000), pp. 131-74. 

8 The literature is reviewed in David P. Forsythe and Patrice C. McMahon, Human 
Rights and Diversity: Area Studies Revisited (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. 
2003, forthcoming). 

9 See especially Ryan Hendrickson, Tie Clinton Wars (Nashville: Vanderbilt University 
Press, 2002). 

1 http: / / ~usa.P/gwb43 /speeches/gwbush 1 .htm. 

1 1 l-3html. 


13 New York Times, April 23, 2002, p. A4. 

14 Ibid., September 5, 2002, p. Al. 

U.S. foreign policy and human rights in an era of insecurity 95 

15 See Michael Ilir.h. " and ilic World." John Ikcnbcrrv, "The Lures of Preemp- 
tion," and Michael Mandelbaum, "The Limits of Power," all in Foreign Affairs 81, 
no. 5 (September-October 2002), pp. 18-95. Among various critiques by the New 
York Times journalist Thomas L. Friedman see "Noah and 9-11," September 11, 
2002, p. A35, noting U.S. efforts to exempt itself from rules applicable to others. See 
also the commentary by the two top leaders of the U.N. University, Hans van 
Ginkel and Ramesh Thakur, in the United Nations Chronicle, XXXDVIII, no. 3 
(2001), pp. 9f. 

16 William Pfaff, "America and Europe: A New World Order Will Have to Wait," Inter- 
national Herald Tribune, May 17, 2001, p. 10. 

17 Ramesh Thakur, "Diplomacy's Odd Couple: The U.S. and the UN," International 
Herald Tribune, June 27, 2002, p. 1 1. 

18 David Broder wrote a column lambasting the Security Council when it proved reluc- 
tant to endorse all U.S. policies; no such attack was made earlier when the Council 
approved the U.S. exercise of self-defense in Afghanistan and voted to try to curtail 
funding for terrorism as desired by the United States. Lincoln Journal Star, 
September 18, 2002, p. 7B. In general, the Washington Post published a number of 
columns and editorials that were highly nationalistic. See, for example. Ruben 
Kagan, "Europeans Courting International Disaster," June 30, 2002, p. B7. And see 
below note 24 regarding James Hoagland. 

19 See further "U.S. Fails to Polish Image Abroad," International Herald Tribune, July 30, 
2002, p. 7. And Peter Peterson, "The Need for Public Diplomacy," Foreign Affairs 81, 
no. 5 (September-October 2002), pp. 74-95. 

20 Jessica T. Mathews, "September 1 1, One Year Later," Policy Brief Special edition 18 
(2002), pp. 1-10, quote at p. 10. 

21 International Herald Tribune, August 14, 2002, p. 4. 

22 It is patently wrong to say that treaties are not part of the law of the U.S. as a 
general rule, given the wording of the Constitution and die huge number of federal 
and state judicial pronouncements that turn on a question of treaty law. For a classic 
case see Missouri v. Holland. But see John Bolton, "The Global Prosecutors: Hunting 
War Criminals in the Name of Utopia," Foreign Affairs 78, no. 1 (January-February 
1999), pp. 158-64. 

23 The Bush administration apparently now acknowledges that a focus on lower- 
ranking service personnel, and the American Service Members Protection Act, are 
diversions from the more serious problem. See Elizabeth Becker, "On World Court, 
U.S. Focus Shifts to Shielding Officials," New York Times, September 7, 2002, p. A4. 

24 One of the few Democrats to openly challenge the Bush team regarding the ICC is 
Christopher Dodd. Most other Democrats seem to fear being labeled unpatriotic on 
the issue of an international court theoretically being able to try Americans. Forgot- 
ten is the statement by none other than Republican (and isolationist) Robert A. Taft, 
who said that international peace depended on "international courts to determine 
whether nations are abiding by that law," quoted in Pfaff, Barbarian Sentiments, p. 1 1; 
and the statement by Dwight D. Eisenhower, who said. "It is better to lose a point 
now and then in an international tribunal and gain a world in which everyone lives 
at peace under the rule of law," quoted in David P. Forsythe, Tiie Politics of Inter- 
national Law (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1990), p. 51. James Hoagland, the 
foreign correspondent of the Washington Post, wrote a column quoting Camus to the 
effect that defending his mother came before defending justice. In context, the argu- 
ment seemed to be that nationalism was more important than justice. John 
Hoagland, "Liberals Ought to Join the Real World," International Herald Tribune, 
December 6, 2002, www.ilit.com7articles/79305.html. 

25 See further Erin Chlopak, "Dealing with the Detainees at Guantanamo Bay: 
Humanitarian and 111 inder die Geneva Conventions." 
Human Rights Briefs, no. 1 (Spring 2002), American University Center for Human 

96 David P. Forsythe 

Rights and Humanitarian Law. pp. 61'.: and David Lillian. "I lie War on Terrorism 
and the End of Human Rights/' Philosophy and Public Policy Quarterly 22, no. 3 
(Summer 2002), pp. 9f. The latter author suggests that the Bush administration has 
even misrepresented the notion of "enemy combatant" in order to skirt not only 
international but also national law. 

26 New York Times, November 9, 2002, p. Al 1. 

27 A useful short overview is Martha Minow, Between Vengeance and Forgiveness: Facing 
History after Genocide and Mass Violence (Boston, MA: Beacon, 1998). 

28 This docu- 
ment is a blend of U.S. exceptionalism, realism, and liberalism suggesting that the 
U.S. will lead in the creation of a balance of power that favors freedom. 

29 Marina Ottaway and Thomas Carothers, eds.. Funding Virtue: Civil Society Aid and 
Democracy Promotion (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment, 2000). 

30 From a vast literature see further David R Forsythe and Barbara Ann J. Rieffer, 
"U.S. Foreign Policy and Enlarging the Democratic Community," Human Rights 
Quarterly 22, no. 4 (November 2000), pp. 988-1,010. And Michael Cox, G. John 
Ikenberry, and Takashi Inoguchi. eds.. Amciicaii Danocrucx Proinn/inn: Impulses. Slialtgic*. 
and Impacts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). 

31 Ottaway and Carothers, Funding Virtue. 

32 New Fork Times, September 11, 2002, p. Al. 

33 Erick Eckholm, "Chinese Muslim Group Planned Terror, U.S. Says," New Fork 
Times, August 31, 2002, p. A5. Debate ensued about this U.S. decision. Some said 
that Muslim Uighur groups were resisting Chinese repression through mostly peace- 
ful means, and that the particular group in question had not clearly used or planned 

34 See the exchange between Paula Dobriansky of the Bush State Department and 
Thomas Carothers in Foreign Affairs 82, no. 3 (May-June, 2003), pp. 141-5. 

35 Human Rights Watch, "U.S. Strengthens Human Rights Effort on Uzbekistan," 

36 U.S. Department of State, "Democracy and Human Rights in Uzbekistan," 
http://www.state.gOv/g/drl/ris/rm/ll 1 12.htm. 

37 U.S. Department of State, FY 2000-1 HRDF Funds, 

38 Human Rights Watch, Annual Report 2002, 

39 Human Rights Watch, "Uzbekistan: New Strategy from EBRD," electronic press 
release, March 18, 2003. 

40 Human Rights Watch, "Egypt High Court Overturns Conviction of Rights 
Activists," electronic press release, March 18, 2003. 

4 1 http: / /web. 

42 Dana Priest and Barton Gellman, "For CIA Suspects Abroad, Brass-Knuckle 
Treatment," Washington Post, December 27, 2002, 
8 15 16. hi ml. This article produced virtually no concern within official Washington. It 
did lead to a cover story- for The Economist, January 1 1, 2003. Likewise, the deaths of 
two detainees under U.S. control in Afghanistan, and as many as 20 suicide attempts 
among detainees at Guantanamo did not lead to a broad national debate about U.S. 
violations of civil rights pertaining to prisoners. 

13 Brian Knowlton reports that Egyptian mass opinion was unfavorable to the U.S. by 
an 1 1-1 margin in "A Global Image on the Way Down," International Herald Tribune, 
December 5, 2002, 

44 Marina Ottaway et al., "Democratic Mirage in the Middle East," Policy Brief, 20, 
Brookings, October 7, 2002, p. 1. 

45 When the R :mized the "( lontras" against Nicaragua in the 
1980s, was this an example of state-supported terrorism? 

U.S. foreign policy and human rights in an era of insecurity 97 

46 According to Human Rights Watch, the Bush team granted Ecuador enhanced 
trade benefits despite that country's failure to implement certain labor rights 
required by U.S. law. http://www. As a 
general rule, while the Congress can put human rights standards in its legislalii >n. ii 
lacks the ability to exercise effective oversight. See further David P. Forsythe, Human 
Rights mill U.S. Foreign Policy: Congress Reconsidered (Gainesville: University Presses of 
Florida, 1988). 

47 Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001). 

48 New York Times, February 3, 2003, p. A6. 

49 Gail W. Lapidus, "Transforming Russia: American policy in ihe 1990s," in Robert 
J. Lieber, ed., Eagle Rules? Foreign Policy and American Primacy in the Twenty-first Century 
(Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 2002), pp. 97-132. 

50 Alain Noel and Jean-Phillippe Therien, "From Domestic to International Justice," 
International Organization 49, no. 3 (Summer 1995), pp. 523-53. 

5 1 See further, for example, Stefanie Grant, "The United States and the international 
human tights treaty system: for export only?" in Philip Alston and James Crawford. 
eds., The Future ofU.N. Human Rights Treaty Monitoring (Cambridge: Cambridge Uni- 
versity Press, 2000), pp. 317-32. 

52 It is possible that the U.S. position on the death penalty is beginning to change, and 
that this change has been stimulated by foreign criticism and pressure. Thus far, 
however, while the death penalty per se is not prohibited by the International 
Covenant on Civil and : and while European democracies in particu- 
lar object to the use of the death penalty as practiced by federal and most state 
authorities, the U.S. continues to look to its own laws and to domestic public opinion 
as the determinants of policy on this issue. See Mary L. Dudziak, Cold War Civil 
Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University 
Press, 2000). U.S. leaders during the Cold War were aware of foreign criticism of 
American racism and segregation, but they opted for slow change through U.S. 
democracy rather than emphasize international norms and procedures. 

53 On the issue of women's rights, the Bush administration has avoided taking a stand 
■ at ( EDAW — the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. 
When the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2002 moved the treaty to the 
Senate floor with a vote of approval, nma Republican senators voted against it. 
Bush's State Department seemed to favor, but the Justice Department seemed 
opposed. See further Nicholas D. Kristof, "Women's Rights: Why Not?" New York 
Times, June 18, 2002, p. A23. 

54 See for example William Felice. The Global Nnc Deal: Ecunnmi, mid Social Rights in 
World Politics (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2002). 

55 Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2003, 

56 In general see Joseph S. Nye Jr., The Paradox of American Power: Why the World's Only 
Superpower Can't Go It Alone (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002). 

57 One take on the Bush administration sees the President and his Deputy Secretary of 
Defense Paul Wolfowitz as militant cxceptionalists and crusaders, and Secretary of 
Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Vice-President Dick Cheney as realists. 

58 Steven Holloway, "U.S. Unilateralism at the U.N.: Why Great Powers Do Not 
Make Great Multilateralists," Global Governance 6, no. 3 July-September 2000), 
pp. 361-82. See further Michael Glennon, "The U.N. vs. U.S. Power," Foreign Affairs 
82, no. 3 (May-June, 2000), pp. 16-35 regarding the damage that Bush's invasion of 
Iraq has done to the effort since 1920 to restrain first use of force by international 
law and organization. 

4 International human rights 

Unintended consequences of the war 
on terrorism 

Jack Donnelly 

The tragedy of September 1 1, 2001 has led to a substantial redirection of U.S. 
foreign policy. This chapter explores the consequences of these changes for U.S. 
international human rights and democratization policies. Anti-terrorism has 
provoked a one-dimensional ideo ign that has marginalized human 

rights in much the same way as, although somewhat less intensely than, the 
crusade against communism did during the Cold War. 

The chapter begins by charting the gradual emergence of human rights as 
an interest of American foreign policy during the second half of the Cold 
War — at first as a matter of considerable controversy, but by the late 1980s as a 
concern with widespread bipartisan support. The decline of serious security 
threats that accompanied the end of the Cold War led to the growing promi- 
nence of international human rights in U.S. foreign policy in the 1990s. Against 
this baseline, and a long-established pattern of growing attention to human 
rights, this chapter explores the substantial retrenchment that has occurred as a 
result of the American reaction to September 1 1 . 

There has been no conscious and overt decision to downgrade the place of 
human rights in U.S. foreign policy. If anything, the Bush administration now 
talks more of human rights and democracy as foreign policy objectives than it 
did prior to September 1 1 . Nonetheless, the overriding emphasis on combating 
terrorism has shifted (always limited) attention and resources away from human 
rights. It has also enabled deeply rooted tendencies toward unilateralism and 
the demonization of enemies. As a result, the space in U.S. foreign policy for 
human rights and democracy has been significantly reduced — not by design, 
but no less surely, and with quite unfortunate consequences for the international 
struggle to realize human rights. 

Human rights in post-Cold War American 
foreign policy 

Assessing the impact of September 1 1 requires a baseline of comparison. The 
preceding dozen years witnessed a significant increase in the prioritization of 
democracy and human rights objectives. In addition, the 1990s saw the devel- 

unal human rights 99 

opment of a stream of unilateral and multilateral practices that established an 
international right to humanitarian intervention against genocide. 1 

Although there is little controversy about the existence of these changes, 
their cause is a matter of contention. How much was due to their rise in the 
hierarchy of U.S. foreign policy interests? How much was due instead to the 
spaces that the demise of anti-communism opened for the pursuit of other 
objectives? The evidence since September 1 1 suggests that it was much more 
the latter. 

Perhaps the easiest way to present the case is in terms of a simple three- 
t model of foreign policy. If foreign policy is constructed out of security. 
d "other" interests then, in general, security trumps everything 
else. Economic interests usually (although not always) take priority over "other" 
interests. Occasionally economic interests may even compete with (secondary) 
security concerns. "Other" interests generally come last. This model is a pretty 
good first approximation of the foreign policy priorities of the United States, 
and most other countries as well. 

The place of an interest within this hierarchy (and within the hierarchy of 
"other" interests) may change either absolutely or relatively; that is, the absolute 
value attributed to it may change or the absolute value of another interest 
above or below it may change. The increased attention to human rights and 
democracy in post-Cold War U.S. foreign policy was largely relative rather than 
absolute. It did not rest on altered priorities among these three classes of inter- 
est. There may have been a modest absolute increase in the value attributed to 
human rights. But the most important change was a dramatic contraction in the 
scope of security concerns that opened space for increased attention to human 

How does this compare to the absolute change in the place of human rights 
in U.S. foreign policy that took place a decade earlier? The introduction of 
human rights on the agenda in the 1970s — beginning with Congressional man- 
dates linking human rights and foreign aid and the linkage between human 
rights and broader foreign policy concerns reflected in the Helsinki Final Act — 
is well documented. 2 But throughout the presidency of Jimmy Carter, 
considerable (and often intense) debate raged over whether hunran rights were 
even an appropriate foreign policy concern. 3 

A decade later, however, debate focused not on whether the United States 
should be pursuing international human rights objectives, but on what place 
human rights should be given in particular cases and relative to other foreign 
policy interests. By the late 1980s, human rights had become entrenched on the 
U.S. foreign policy agenda as a largely nonpartisan objective. Across the entire 
mainstream of the political spectrum, which had shifted to the right throughout 
the decade, human rights had become an accepted, and valued, objective of 
American foreign policy. 

Ironically, this change took place during Ronald Reagan's presidency. 
During his early years in office, Reagan worked aggressively to turn his cam- 
paign criticisms of Carter's human rights policies into action. Where human 

100 Jack Donnelly 

rights could not be eliminated altogether from foreign policy (usually because of 
Congressional and popular political pressure), they were either marginalized or 
cynically manipulated. 1 furthermore, the Reagan administration conceptual- 
ized democracy in largely geopolitical terms: anti-communism plus elections, 
with elections not even necessary for friendly regimes with strong anti- 
communist credentials. 

These efforts, however, largely failed. Although the advocates of human 
rights lost most of the individual battles (most notably over Central America), 
ultimately they prevailed. In its second term, the Reagan administration largely 
adopted the language of human rights, especially when anti-communism did 
not get in the way. And when Reagan's Vice-President, George H.W. Bush, ran 
successfully for the presidency in 1988, he regularly and freely used the lan- 
guage of human rights, with apparent sincerity. 

The changes in U.S. international human rights policy after the end of the 
Cold War built on this entrenchment of human rights on the foreign policy 
agenda. The geopolitical impediments to the pursuit of human rights objectives 
dramatically receded. In what has often been referred to as a "unipolar world," 5 
there were fewer security concerns to interfere with the pursuit of human rights 

The U.S. and international reaction against the Tiananmen massacre in June 
1 989 is perhaps the clearest indication of the new geopolitical space for inter- 
national human rights. 6 China, which previously had been largely exempted 
from U.S. human rights criticism because of its shared enmity toward the Soviet 
Union, 7 not only came under harsh verbal attack but found itself the subject of 
significant international sanctions. And the United States continued to press 
human rights as a major issue in Sino-American relations through the mid- 
1990s. In other words, in the case of relations with a major world power, 
Washington was willing to make modest but real sacrifices of economic interests, 
and even accept minor security costs, in order to pursue human rights objectives. 

No less important than the changes in the international agenda was the ideo- 
logical space opened by the demise of communism. During the Cold War, 
protecting "democracy" and "the free world" was often deemed to require tol- 
erating or even actively supporting human rights violations directed against the 
"enemies of freedom." With the end of ideological rivalry, which had been at 
the heart of U.S. support for repressive regimes on the right, the "threat" posed 
to "friendly" dictators largely evaporated. 

With the definition of democracy liberated from the tyranny of anti- 
communism, the United States not only developed a renewed emphasis on 
elections but increasingly came to see that "real" democracy required an active 
and effective independent civil society. As civil society promotion programs 
expanded, important conceptual and practical linkages were forged between 
human rights and democratization agendas. Whatever the shortcomings in 
program design, and for all the restrictions imposed by competing interests, this 
was a major advance in the sophistication and potential impact of U.S. human 
liplomacy. 8 

International human rights 101 

During the Cold War, international human rights policies were preoccupied 
by a largely reactive and remedial emphasis on stopping, and aiding victims of, 
systematic and often brutal repression. With the demise of numerous dictator- 
ships of the left and right alike, new opportunities developed for a more positive 
emphasis on helping to build a human rights culture. Once the old authoritar- 
ian regimes were gone, it became increasingly clear that the work of building 
rights-respecting societies and rights-protective regimes had only begun. This 
new attitude tended to be expressed primarily in the growing use of the lan- 
guage of democracy and democratization. Bureaucratically, it was reflected in 
the change from the Bureau of Human R nanitarian Affairs to the 

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. 

In its least attractive dimensions, this new orientation sometimes led to a 
fetishistic pursuit of elections. 9 U.S. policy has also often confused political liber- 
alization (that is, reductions in or even elimination of old forms of repression) 
with democratization, in a naive belief that all progressive political change lies 
on a path that leads to democracy. 10 But in its more attractive dimensions — 
which were not entirely lacking during the administration of Bill Clinton, and 
even that of his predecessor — it involved a vision of human rights that went well 
beyond the Cold War era's simplistic vision of stopping torture, freeing political 
prisoners, and "throwing the rascals out." 

As these last paragraphs have suggested, in the 1990s there was genuine 
rethinking and learning that contributed to redesigned international human 
rights policies — not just in the U.S. but in many other countries as well. One 
might also argue that there was a modest absolute increase (especially outside 
the United States) in attention and commitment to international human rights 
issues. The crucial change, however, was less in the substance or absolute inten- 
sity of U.S. human rights and democracy promotion interests than in the space 
opened for such initiatives by the end of geopolitical and ideological rivalry with 
the Soviet Union. Since September 1 1 , human rights have not so much 
retreated from American foreign policy as they have been eclipsed by a focus on 

The eclipse of human rights 

Some of the changes discussed in the preceding section have become deeply 
entrenched, most notably the acceptance throughout the political mainstream of 
human rights as a legitimate foreign policy concern. But the relative priority 
attached to international human rights objectives remains a matter of contro- 
versy. The previous argument suggests that the post-Cold War upsurge of 
human rights and democracy as objectives of U.S. foreign policy was vulnerable 
to a reinflation of security concerns. Since September 1 1 we have indeed wit- 
nessed democracy and human rights being obscured, and thus effectively 
pushed back toward the margins of U.S. foreign policy, by a new geopolitical 
vision and a new ideological crusade. Both have striking analogies to their Cold 
War predecessors. 

102 Jack Donnelly 

Most notable, perhaps, was the transformation, almost overnight, of Pak- 
istan, in the official U.S. representation, from a retrograde military dictatorship 
— and one that, in addition, was a major supporter of international terrorism, 
the preceding decade's most flagrant violator of the non-proliferation regime, 
and a bellicose threat to regional security in south Asia — into a leading U.S. 
ally. And despite the lack of any substantial human rights improvements or 
progress toward democracy in Pakistan, the U.S. embrace has continued long 
after the war in Afghanistan. For example, on his visit to the United States in 
the summer of 2003, Pakistani strongman Pervez Musharraf was lavishly 
praised by the administration. 

Much more generally, governments have taken advantage of the rhetoric of 
anti-terrorism to intensify their attacks on domestic and international enemies. 
As Human Rights Watch has put it, "Particularly troubling, and common, have 
been the pretextual use of counter-terrorism laws as new weapons against old 
political foes." 11 Russia and Israel provide perhaps the most tragic examples of 
the war on terrorism run amok. 

In Chechnya, 12 intensified Russian military action certainly owed much to 
the natural ebb and flow of that terrible conflict. Russia, however, has been 
emboldened by the language and logic of a global war on terrorism, calculating, 
correctly, that appeals to anti-terrorism provide partial insulation from inter- 
national criticism. 13 The muting and partial disabling of humanitarian criticism 
has certainly not caused Russian brutality, but it has facilitated it. 

In Israel, the government of Ariel Sharon has responded to the upsurge of 
terror bombings with a vengeance that reflects not only its own inclinations but 
also Washington's tolerance for a brutal war on terrorism. 14 Assassination and 
collective punishment have become standard operating procedures. The indig- 
nities and human rights violations that have long characterized military 
occupation have intensified in number and severity. Perhaps most brutal have 
been policies consciously aimed at destroying the Palestinian economy and 
making every Palestinian civilian suffer, both economically and through the 
denial of personal liberties, 15 for the actions of a tiny group of extremists and 
the unwillingness or inability of the Palestinian Authority to control them. 

The terrorist threats faced by Russia and Israel — and the difficulties of 
responding to them — are real. Unfortunately, however, responses have them- 
selves relied on systematic human rights violations and terrorist tactics. 16 But 
the United States and its allies have backed off from their criticism of Russia. 17 
And the U.S. has done little to impede the slide of Israel into policies that can 
only accurately be described as state terrorism. Even the new "Road Map" for 
peace places virtually all the blame on Palestinian terrorists, and the administra- 
tion continues to treat Israeli state terrorism less critically. 

Suffering by innocent civilians has perhaps brought some of the satisfactions 
of retribution. But as the continuing suicide bombings in Israel and the theater 
hostages and o ings in Moscow indicate, it has not made its perpe- 

trators more secure. Quite the contrary, it has plunged them even deeper into a 
cycle of violence and despair. 18 

International human rights 103 

Washington's tolerance for systematic human rights violations, and even state 
terrorism, when responding to terrorism, has been facilitated by the tendency to 
see anti-terrorism less as a material interest of U.S. foreign policy than as a 
crusade against evil. In a struggle against evil, in contrast to the pursuit of mat- 
erial interests, victory is all that matters. As the struggle progresses, the end 
comes to be seen as justifying a growing range of morally and legally problem- 
atic means. 

The ordinary restraints of law and the conventional limits on the use of force 
regularly lose out to the imperatives of the crusade. Where the conflict is milita- 
rized, the classic just-war restrictions increasingly are eroded or ignored; 
noncombatants are directly targeted, proportionality is disregarded, and the 
very idea of innocent civilians is undermined by direct and indirect attributions 
of collective responsibility and guilt. Where the struggle is carried out through 
the institutions of "law and order" and the internal security forces, human 
rights are the price exacted not just from terrorists but from peaceful political 
opponents, members of groups that are feared or despised, and ordinary indi- 
viduals accidentally or arbitrarily caught up in the security apparatus. 19 

These relatively dramatic examples, which enable rights-abusive policies, are 
matched by a general decline in Washington's official attention to human rights 
and democracy promotion. The United States remains committed rhetorically 
to human rights and democracy. But in practice these objectives have been 
overshadowed, and thus moved to the background, in a growing number of 
cases. Although the decline has been substantially less dramatic in the two years 
since September 1 1 than during the Cold War — an analogy with the impact of 
the war on drugs on American policy in the Andean region is closer to the 
mark — U.S. support for human rights and democracy has been among the 
more prominent casualties of the war on terrorism. 

Some have suggested that this is, at the very least, not incompatible with the 
preferences of the current Bush administration. 20 But these changes are by no 
means restricted to the political right. In fact, the most striking fact has been the 
participation in or tolerance of this shift in policy by moderates and liberals, 
who have more of an inclination to pursue international human rights objec- 
tives. The Bush administration's anti-terrorism policy has strong bipartisan 
support. Although its domestic dimensions have provoked sustained (although 
rarely harsh) criticism from prominent mainstream political figures, criticism of 
its international dimensions has been restricted primarily to human rights 
NGOs and figures on the fringes of the political mainstream. 

In any case, even within the administration and among its allies, there has 
been no attack on human rights and democracy objectives. They remain 
rhetorically important goals of U.S. foreign policy. 21 One need not be overly 
charitable to suggest that this reflects a genuine commitment to these values. At 
the very least, it indicates that other important internal and international con- 
stituencies continue to take them seriously. Hypocrisy is effective only to the 
extent that it taps into widely and genuinely held values. 

In an important sense, then, the relative decline of human rights in U.S. 

1 04 Jack Donnelly 

foreign policy has been largely unintended. The explicit aim has been not to 
harm or even slight human rights but rather to pursue security objectives that 
are deemed to be more important. 

This does not in any way lessen American responsibility. Although "unin- 
tended," the negative human rights consequences have been very real, were 
easily anticipated, and are now well known. The lack of intent, however, is 
important for thinking about the prospects for reversing these trends. 

If the decline in the position of human rights in U.S. foreign policy has been 
largely relative, then any revival — much like the initial post-Cold War increase 
in the prominence of international human rights concerns — will depend on 
space being opened by the retreat of competing security objectives. A return to 
a more active, aggressive, and consistent internatii >i 

await the reopening of the political space currently pre-empted by the war on 
terrorism. We can perhaps hope for such a change in a couple of years, espe- 
cially if George W. Bush is not re-elected. But in the short term, human rights 
are almost certain to remain eclipsed by anti-terrorism in American foreign 

Human rights, security, and foreign policy 

A defender of the war on terrorism might argue that the account so far is a 
simple one of competing foreign policy objectives: major security interests have 
appropriately pushed human rights and democracy promotion to the sidelines. 
However, the actual dynamic has been rather different. This section focuses on 
qualitative substantive changes in the understanding of security. The following 
section examines the tendency to conceive new threats in moralized terms and 
to respond with an irrational exuberance for a militarized crusade. 

Up to this point, "security" has been treated as if its meaning was obvious 
and constant. Protecting the national territory from invasion may fit this 
description. Most other "security" interests, however, are more thoroughly 
constructed and variable. It is instructive to consider a simple three-variable 
model, each with two possible values. What is to be secured — the state (national 
security) or citizens (personal security)? Where does the threat lie — externally 
or internally? And what is the nature of the threat — material or moral (ideo- 

The relatively constant and uncontroversial dimensions of "security" address 
external material threats to the state. Security thus understood is indeed plausi- 
bly seen as an appropriately overriding concern of foreign policy: without 
national security from external material threats, all other interests and values 
are at risk. The tradition of realpolitik understands the national interest, and 
thus national security, as largely restricted to such external material interests. 22 
As we move away from this relatively simple case, however, "security" becomes 
more obscure, its priority becomes more contentious, and its conceptual and 
normative relationships to human rights may vary considerably. 

A focus on the security of individual citizens has strong positive connections 

International human rights 105 

with human rights. In fact, internationally recogniz his can be seen 

as measures to secure individuals from the threats to their dignity and security 
posed by modern states and markets. A focus on state security, however, has no 
necessary connection to individual human rights; it depends on the character of 
the state being protected and the means used to secure it. 

To oversimplify, human rights are about protecting citizens from the state. 
More precisely, the state, in contemporary international human rights law, has 
the principal obligation of implementing internationally recognized human 
rights. Violations thus usually involve either direct action by the state or the 
failure of states to take action that implements or enforces human rights. 

National security, by contrast, is about protecting the state from its (per- 
ceived) enemies. Those enemies may themselves be citizens. And even when the 
enemies are external, the rights of citizens may need to be sacrificed in order to 
carry out defensive measures. 

An antagonistic relationship between national security and human rights is 
especially likely when security is seen in moral rather than material terms and 
to the extent that the causes of insecurity are seen as internal. This was 
common during the Cold War. With "security" understood almost exclusively 
as a matter of national security (which was understood to have a substantial ideo- 
logical dimension), U.S. foreign policy was extremely tolerant of regimes that 
systematically sacrificed the human rights of their citizens to the alleged impera- 
tives of protecting the nation from communist attack and subversion. Latin 
America provides perhaps the most striking examples — Guatemala in the 
1950s, the southern cone of South America during the 1970s, El Salvador 
during the 1 980s — but there were many instances in Asia (for example, South 
Korea and Vietnam) and Africa (for example, South Africa and Zaire) as well. 

The end of the Cold War led to a redefinition of U.S. security interests in 
less ideological terms. This eliminated incentives for the United States to court 
repressive regimes in order to keep them out of the communist camp. At the 
same time, it undermined the principal rationale for repression by rightist dicta- 
torships. Taken together, these changes greatly reduced the antagonism between 
human rights and national security in U.S. foreign policy. 

In other words, after the end of the Cold War not only were security con- 
cerns reduced in number but the concept of "security" was rethought. Consider, 
for example, the Soviet/Russian threat. Russia still posed most of the same mat- 
erial threats in 1995 that it did in 1985; the end of the Cold War simply did not 
coincide with a substantial reduction in Soviet military power. Rather, the ideo- 
logical threat posed by communism disappeared, beginning with liberalization 
at home and "new thinking" in Soviet foreign policy, accelerating the processes 
that ultimately led to the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the dissolution of the 
Soviet Union. 

In addition, there was a partial move toward a conception of security with 
more of a personal dimension or, in the language that became popular in the 
1990s, 23 "human security." 24 The roots of this change can be traced to the Con- 
ference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. The 1975 Helsinki Final Act, 

1 06 Jack i 

and especially Principle VII ("Respect for Human Rights and Fundamental 
Freedoms") and Basket III ("Cooperation in Humanitarian and Other Fields"), 
introduced human rights explicitly into the mainstream of international security 
discussions. And in follow-up meetings in Belgrade (1977-8), Madrid (1980-3), 
and Vienna (1986-9), human rights were central. 

Certainly human security never displaced national security on the U.S. 
foreign policy agenda. But in the 1990s it did come to occupy a significant space. 
This is perhaps most evident in a series of armed humanitarian operations that 
received strong U.S. support, running from Somalia and Bosnia through Kosovo 
and East Timor. 23 More broadly, the concept of "peace-building" was added to 
the international security lexicon 26 and a human rights dimension was incorpo- 
rated into a number of post-conflict peacekeeping operations. 27 

As many of the examples presented above suggest, the trend since 
September 2001 has been in the opposite direction. National security trumps 
all. And the appeal to homeland security, which to my ears sounds like the 
languages of fascism and Stalinism, makes it clear that it is the security of the 
country, not the rights of U.S. citizens (let alone the human rights of foreigners) 
that is to be protected. 

It is certainly true that recent terrorist acts have modestly increased the 
material threat to the United States. The most important changes since Sep- 
tember 1 1 , however, have involved the expansion of the other dimensions of 

The war on terrorism has led to a significantly more ideological vision of 
security. This theme is pursued in greater detail below. The internal dimensions 
of security, as expressed in the language of homeland security, have moved to 
the forefront. And the focus on personal security has receded in favor of a 
renewed emphasis on national security. 

Taken together, the result has been an increasing tendency to see security 
and human rights as competing rather than reinforcing concerns. Part of the 
change has been the rise of new threats to the material interests of the United 
States. But no less important has been a reconceptualization of the very 
meaning of security. 

Irrational exuberance: the case of axis of evil 

The implication of the preceding section is that human rights and democracy 
promotion have lost out less as a result of carefully considered trade-offs of com- 
peting interests and more due to a decision to reorient U.S. policy around an 
ideological crusade, which has introduced a substantially irrational element into 
Washington's policy. Moreover, the new crusade against terrorism has facilitated 
the expression of dangerous tendencies in U.S. foreign policy, particularly to 
demonize enemies and to act unilaterally. 

One striking consequence of the post-September 1 1 environment has been 
the rhetorical creation of, and reorientation of U.S. foreign policy toward 
opposing, the "axis of evil," which was introduced into public discourse by Pres- 

International human rights 107 

ident Bush in his State of the Union Address on January 29, 2002. 28 In fact, 
there are not the actual connections between these three countries that would 
plausibly make them an axis. Quite the contrary, Iran and Iraq have been bitter 
enemies and North Korea is not closely linked to either of the other two 
regimes. This new enemy has been constructed out of a hodgepodge of very dif- 
ferent (and largely unrelated) concerns — most notably terrorism, proliferation, 
regional security, and general anti-U.S. sentiment. 

The glue that holds together this disparate set of issues and countries is the 
general anti-terrorist hysteria. No rational assessment of U.S. interests would 
suggest that its policy ought to focus on these three regimes. This is true even in 
the narrow case of a well-designed war on terrorism. 

Terrorists sponsored by these three regimes have not directed their activities 
against the territory or military of the United States. In fact, nationals of these 
-in sharp contrast to, most notably, those of Saudi Arabia — have not 
i been centrally involved in the widely publicized terrorist attacks on U.S. 
is. The global role of these three countries makes them no more deserving 
of special attention than any other nations. Other states, including U.S. allies, 
are equally culpable. Syria, for example, has been as active in the Middle East 
as Iran. The devastation wreaked by Pakistani-supported Kashmiri terrorists 
has been at least as significant as anything caused by terrorists supported by the 
axis of evil — not to mention the long-standing Pakistani support for the Taliban, 
prior to its post- September 1 1 about-face. 

Much the same is true of the other "crimes" of these regimes. North Korea 
has indeed been guilty of breaching general international non-proliferation 
norms, as well as particular agreements with the United States. But Pakistan, a 
U.S. "ally," is the most flagrant proliferator of the past decade in a regional 
security context that is at least as unstable as that of the Korean peninsula. Fur- 
thermore, evidence also suggests that Pakistan has contributed to North Korea's 
nuclear program. Iraq's nuclear ambitions seem, by the evidence of the recent 
war, to have been thwarted by international sanctions and monitoring. And 
Iran, although a legitimate proliferation concern, does not appear to be an 
imminent threat. 

From a human rights perspective, these problems might be forgivable if these 
"evil" states were not the world's leading human rights violators. A strong case 
can be made that North Korea and Saddam Hussein's Iraq belonged on any 
"top ten" list. But the inclusion of Iran in such company is far-fetched, which 
can only be explained by the tendency to demonize enemies that has arisen 
since September 2001. 

Revolutionary Iran is in many regards an extremely unappealing regime. But 
respect for human rights and democracy are far more advanced in Iran than in 
the U.S.'s leading ally in the region, Saudi Arabia. Iran is the only country in 
the region with a vibrant opposition and immediate possibilities for reform. Rel- 
atively free elections are held regularly for a legislature and government that 
have considerable influence over policy. Despite substantial censorship and a 
serious problem of legal and political attacks on opposition journalists, Iran is 

108 Jack Donnelly 

one of the few countries in the region with a substantial cadre of opposition 
journalists. State-supported vigilante violence is a recurrent problem, but oppo- 
sition political figures face far fewer threats to their personal security than in the 
rest of the region. And women's rights are further advanced in Iran than in all 
but one or two Arab countries; certainly compared to Saudi Arabia, Iran, espe- 
cially Tehran, allows more women's rights. 

U.S. policy, however, has largely sacrificed the chance to facilitate the 
ongoing process of reform in Iran. Indeed. Washington's bellicosity has made 
life more difficult for reformers. Rather than recognize the positive, if limited, 
changes in Iran over the past decade, Washington has chosen to single out Iran 
for special attack. It has even sacrificed opportunities to pursue convergent 
interests cooperatively, most notably in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

There has been, in effect, a choice to keep Iran as an enemy rather than 
either help to reform it or try to settle outstanding issues, which at this point are 
largely symbolic on both sides. Hence Iran is not just an ordinary enemy, but a 
demonized one, particularly since the hostage crisis in 1979-81. The re- 
demonization of Iran, as part of the axis of evil, has been largely driven by the 
hysteria of the war on terror. 

The idea that these three second- or third-rate powers are the appropriate 
focal point for the foreign policy of the world's only superpower is ludicrous. 
But this approach has had serious negative consequences, most directly for 
reformers and human rights in Iran, and more generally in the turn of U.S. 
attention away from human rights and other concerns. But the consequences 
pale before those associated with the war on Iraq. 

As in the creation of the axis of evil, the justification for the war in Iraq was 
cobbled together out of a variety of disparate concerns: weapons of mass 
destruction (WMD), terrorism, regime change, a history of animosity, and 
regional security. As in the general axis-of-evil charge, the particular elements of 
the charge are problematic. And the combination was held together mainly 
with the glue of post-September 1 1 hysteria. 

The threat of WMD seems, by the current evidence, to have been over- 
stated. As noted, Iraq's contribution to international terrorism has been real but 
certainly not especially notable. There is no hint elsewhere in U.S. foreign 
policy that it considers even the most vicious behavior to be legitimate grounds 
for an invasion to overthrow a regime. And Iraq was no serious threat to its 
neighbors, having been effectively hobbled by the Gulf war and a decade of 
international sanctions and monitoring. 29 

As in the previous examples, there is no simple story of direct causation. The 
war against terrorism exacerbated existing tendencies, most notably toward uni- 
lateralism and the demonization of enemies, and also helped to hold together 
the various justifications that were used to build the political coalitions that 
backed the war in Iraq. But without the paranoia over terrorism, it is hard to 
imagine the Bush administration's marshaling the national and international 
support needed to launch the war against Iraq. 

International human rights 1 09 


The world has become a worse place since September 1 1 , and the United 
States bears some responsibility for the deterioration. In the 1990s and with sur- 
prising frequency, the U.S. used its immense power on behalf of humanitarian 
concerns. Security and economic interests remained at the core of foreign 
policy, but power was used, repeatedly and very prominently, on behalf of the 
victims of repression, thereby adding moral and legal legitimacy to its super- 
power status. No less importantly, the number of reprehensible countries treated 
as "friends" declined dramatically. 

The war on terrorism has not produced a dramatic and complete reversal. 
But the United States today embraces repression more frequently than at any 
time since the end of the Cold War. It seems less willing to expend its resources 
on behalf of human rights and humanitarian concerns. When Washington 
asserts itself — increasingly more unilaterally — it is on behalf of a vision of secu- 
rity that has little human dimension. And interests evoke much less international 
support as a result. Ironically, not only do human rights suffer but, by pushing 
human rights back into the shadows, the United States — for example, in 
postwar Iraq — finds itself less able to achieve its other foreign policy ii 


1 See Jack Donnelly, Universal Human Rights in Tlieory and Practice, 2nd edition (Ithaca. 
N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2003), Chapter 14. For an excellent assessment of 
the status of the right of humanitarian intervention, see J.L. Holzgref and Robert 
O. Keohane, eds., Humanitarian Intervention: Ethical, legal and Political Dilemmas (Cam- 
bridge: Cambridge I'nivcrsily Press, 2003). See also International Commission on 
Intervention and State Sovereignty, The Responsibility to Protect ; Ottawa: ICISS, 

2 See David P. Forsythe, Human Rights and U.S. Foreign Policy: Congress Reconsidered 
(Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1988); Donald M. Fraser, "Congress's role 
in the making of international human rights policy," in Donald P. Kommers and 
Gilburt D. Loescher, eds., Human Rights and American Foreign Policy (Notre Dame: Uni- 
versity of Notre Dame Press, 1979), pp. 247-54; and William Korey, The Promises ]\'e 
Keep: Human Rights, the Helsinki Process, and American Foreign Policy (New York: St. 
Martin's Press, 1993). 

3 For classic arguments against including human rights in U.S. foreign policy, see 
William F. Buckley Jr., "Human Rights and Foreign Policy: A Proposal," Foreign 
Affairs 58 (Spring 1980), pp. 775-96; Jeane J. Kirkpatrick. -'Dictatorships and 
Double Standards," Commentary 68 (November 1979:, pp. 34-45; and Hans J. Mor- 
genthau. Human Rights and Foreign Policy (New York: Council on Religion and 
International Affairs, 1979). 

4 Central America was the most important focus of debate, with the United States 
embracing El Salvador despite its poor record on human rights and democracy 
while opposing and seeking to undermine by force a democratically elected govern- 
ment in Nicaragua that had a much better human rights record. See Cynthia 
J. Arnson, Crossroads: Congress, the Reagan Administration, and Central America (New York: 
Pantheon Books, 1989); and Noam Chomsky, "U.S. polity and society: the lessons of 
Nicaragua," in Thomas W Walker, ed., Reagan versus the Sandinistas: The Undeclared 
War on Nicaragua (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1987), pp. 285-310. On the political 

110 Jack Donnelly 

manipulation of the human rights of El Salvador and Nicaragua hv the Reagan 
administration, see Daniel C. Kramer, "International human rights," in Tinsley 
E. Yarbrough, ed., The Reagan Administration and Human Rights (New York: Praeger, 
1985), pp. 230-54. 

5 Charles Krauthammer, "The Unipolar Moment," Foreign Affairs 70 (Winter 1991), 
pp. 23-33. 

6 Rosemary Foot, Rights Beyond Borders: The Global Community and the Struggle Over Human 
Rights in China (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000) provides a superb overview of 
the decade following Tiananmen, with attention to bilateral, multilateral, and non- 
governmental responses as well as changes in Chinese international behavior. See 
also Ann Kent, China, the United .Nations, ami ■ ,: Lniversity of 
Pi'iniNvlvania Press, 1999), which stresses I and Elizabeth 
Economy and Michael Oksenberg, eds., China Joins the World: Progress and Prospects 
(New York: Council on Foreign Relations Press, 1999), which looks at the later 
1990s in a broader foreign policy and international context. 

7 The classic discussion is Roberta Cohen, "People's Republic of China: The Human 
Rights Exception," Human Rights Quarterly 9 (November 1987), pp. 447-549. 

8 For a good general overview of the work of the 1990s, see Marina Ottaway and 
Thomas Carothers, eds., Funding Virtue: Civil Society Aid and Democracy Promotion (Wash- 
ington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2000). 

9 See Terry Lynn Karl's widely cited discussion of the "fallacy of electoralism," or "the 
faith that the mere holding of elections will channel political action into peaceful 
contests among elites, the winners of which are accorded public legitimacy," in "The 
Hybrid Regimes of Central America," Journal of Democracy 6, no. 3 (1995), p. 73. For 
Karl's original discussion of electoralism, see "Imposing consent? Electoralism v. 
democratization in El Salvador," in Paul Drake and Eduardo Silva, eds., Elections in 
Latin America (San Diego: University of California, 1986), pp. 9-36. 

10 See Thomas Carothers, "The End of the Transition Paradigm," Journal of Democracy 
13, no. 1 (2002), pp. 5-21. Carothers points to USAID's depiction of the Democratic 
Republic of Congo as a country transitioning to "a democratic, free market society" 
to illustrate the common assumption that any movement away from authoritarian- 
ism is movement toward democracy (p. 6). USAID's report, "Building Democracy in 
the Democratic Republic of Congo." can be found at 

1 1 Human Rights Watch, In the Name of Counter-Terrorism: Human Rights Abuses Worldwide, 

1 2 For an overview of the human rights situation in Chechnya, see Human Rights 
Watch, "Russia: Abuses in Chechnya Continue to Cause Human Suifering" 
(January 29, 2003), and 
"Human Rights Situation in Chechnya" (April 2003), 
grounder/eca/chechnya/index.htm. For current (although in some cases not entirely 
nonpartisan) information, see 

13 "Since it launched a military operation in Chechnya in 1999, Russia's leaders have 
described the armed conflict there as a counter-terrorism operation and have 
attempted to fend off international scrutiny of Russian forces' abusive conduct by 
invoking the imperative of fighting terrorism. Thi* pattern has become more pro- 
nounced since the September 1 1 attacks, as Russia sought to convince the 
international community that its operation in Chechnya was its contribution to the 
international campaign against terrorism . . . World leaders, until then critical of 
Russia's conduct in Chechnya, did litde to challenge these claims." Ibid. 

14 Information on Israeli human rights violations is highly politicized. B'Tselem, the 
Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, is perhaps 
the best neutral source. See 

15 For a powerful illustration of this phenomenon in microcosm, see B'Tselem, Al- 

International human rights 1 1 1 

Mawazi, Gaza Strip: Intolerable Life in an Isolated Enclave (March 2003), 

16 Political assassinations — if not terrorism, then extrajudicial executions — have 
become a regular part of the Israeli response to terrorism. In Chechnya, torture has 
become so pervasive that in the summer of 200'! the European Committee for the 
Prevention of Torture issued a rare public statement ;littp:// 
ments/rus/2003-33-inf-eng.htm), following strongly worded criticism by the 
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in the spring. 

1 7 For appeals by human rights NGOs calling on Western states to be more vocal on 
the issue of Chechnya, see,, and http://www.reliefweb. 

18 On the spread of Russian brutality into neighboring Ingushetia, see Human Rights 
Watch, "Russia: Abuses Spread Beyond Chechnya," 
2003/07/russia07 1603.htm. 

19 Restrictions on civil liberties in the United States represent a similar dynamic, 
although on a much smaller scale. 

20 See, for example, Lawyers Comnrittee for Human Rights, "A Year of Loss: Reexam- 
ining Civil Liberties since September 11," 
loss_report.pdf, where it is noted (on p. 1) that the administration's inclination to use 
national security arguments to undermine civil liberties predates September 1 1 . 

21 For example, in the 2003 State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush 
noted that: "The American flag stands for more than our power and our interests. 
Our founders dedicated this country to the cause of human dignity, the rights of 
every person, and the possibilities of every life. This conviction leads us into the 
world to help the afflicted, and defend the peace, and confound the designs of evil 
men." See 
also the U.S. State Department "Human Rights" website at 
g/drl/hr/ where it is claimed that "a central goal of U.S. foreign policy has been the 
promotion of respect for human rights, as embodied in the Universal Declaration of 
Human Rights. The United States understands that the existence of human rights 
helps secure the peace, deter aggression, promote the rule of law, combat crime and 
corruption, strengthen democracies, and prevent humanitarian crises." 

22 Hans Morgethau's national interest defined in terms of power provides a classic 
statement. See, for example, his In Defense of the National Interest: A Critical Euimiuatinn 
of American Foreign Policy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1951). 

23 See, for example, Human Development Report 1994: New Dimensions of Human Security 
(New York: United Nations Development Programme, 1994), 
reports/global/ 1994/en/. See also Laura Reed and Majid Tehranian, "Evolving 
security regimes," in Majid Tehranian, ed., Worlds Apart: Human Security and Global 
Governance (New York: LB. Tauris, 1999), pp. 23-53. 

24 For a recent expression by a high-level international commission, see Commission 
on Human Security, Human Security Now (New York: Commission on Human Secu- 
rity, 2003). 

25 See, for example, Thomas G. Weiss, Military-Civilian Interactions: Intervening in Humani- 
tarian Crises, 2nd edition (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, forthcoming). 

26 The term "peace-building" became widely used after the publication of Boutros 
Boutros-Ghali, An Agenda for Peace: Preventive Diplomacy, Peacemaking and Peace- 
keeping (New York: Department of Public Information, United Nations, 1992). Docu- 
ment A/47/277-S/241 1 1 1, 17 June 1992, 
html. See also Elizabeth M. Cousens and Chetan Kumar, eds., Peacebuilding a.\ 1'n/ilic.v 
Culli, ilium Peace in Fragile Societies (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2001); and 
A.B. Fetherston. Towards a Theory of 'United Nations Peacekeeping (New York: St. Martin's 
Press, 1994). 

112 Jack Donnelly 

27 The changes in peacekeeping began in the last years of the Cold War but really took 
off only in the early 1990s. See Tamara Duffey, "United Nations peace-keeping in 
the post-Cold War era," in Clive Jones and Caroline Kennedy-Pipe, eds., Inter- 
national Seairity in a Global Age: Securing the 7a v nlr-lii^t Century (Portland, OR: Frank 
Cass, 2000), pp. 1 16-37; and David M. Malone and Karin Wermester, "Boom and 
Bust? The Changing Nature of U.N. Peacekeeping," International Peacekeeping 7. no. ! 
(Winter 2000), pp. 37-54. 

28 George W. Bush, The President's State of the Union Address, January 29, 2002, 
http: / / 1/20020129-11 .html. 

29 See Jean E. Krasno and James S. Sutterlin, The United Nations and Iraq: Defanging the 
Viper (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003). 

The fight against terrorism 

The Bush administration's dangerous 
neglect of human rights 

Kenneth Roth 

Leadership requires a positive vision shared by others and conduct c 
with that vision. The campaign against terrorism is no exception. The United 
States, as a major target, took the lead in combating terrorism. But the global 
outpouring of sympathy that followed the attacks of September 11, 2001 soon 
gave way to a growing reluctance to join the fight and even resentment toward 
the government leading it. ' 

How has this goodwill been depleted so quickly? In part the cause is tradi- 
tional resentment of the U.S. and its role in the world — resentment which was 
softened only temporarily by the tragedy of September 1 1 . In part it is opposi- 
tion to U.S. policy in the Middle East — in Israel, Palestine, and Iraq. And in 
part it is growing disquiet that the means used to fight terrorism often conflict 
with the values of freedom and law that most people embrace and that Presi- 
dent George W. Bush says the United States is defending. 

Despite its declared policy of supporting human rights, the Bush administra- 
tion in fighting terrorism refuses to be bound by human rights standards. 
Despite a U.S. tradition at home of government under law, the administration 
rejects legal constraints, especially when acting abroad. Despite a constitutional 
order that is premised on the need to impose checks and balances, the U.S. 
government seems to want an international order that places no limits on its 
own actions. These attitudes are jeopardizing the campaign against terrorism. 
They are also putting at risk the human rights ideal. 

This is not to say that the United States is among the worst human rights 
offenders. But because of America's extraordinary influence, the Bush adminis- 
tration's willingness to compromise human rights to fight terrorism sets a 
dangerous precedent. Because of the leadership role that the U.S. government 
so often has played in promoting human rights, the weakening of its voice 
weighs heavily, particularly in some of the frontline countries in the war 
against terrorism, where the need for a vigorous defense of human rights is 
great. This degrading of international standards threatens to come back to 
haunt the United States. 

114 Kenneth Roth 

Human rights and the challenge of terrorism 

Terrorism is antithetical to human rights. Since targeting civilians for violent 
attack is repugnant to human rights norms, those who believe in human rights 
have a direct interest in the success of the anti-terrorism effort. Yet the Bush 
administration's tendency to ignore human rights in fighting terrorism is not 
only disturbing in its own right, it is dangerously counterproductive. The smol- 
dering resentment that it breeds risks generating terrorist recruits, puts off 
potential anti-terrorism allies, and weakens efforts to curb terrorist atrocities. 
The perceived short-term need to compromise human rights in fighting terror- 
ism thus can have a dangerous boomerang effect. 

Terrorism cannot be defeated from afar. Curbing terrorism requires the 
support of people in the countries where terrorists reside. They are the people 
who must cooperate with police inquiries rather than shield terrorist activity. 
They are the people who must take the lead in dissuading would-be terrorists — 
not the Osama bin Ladens of the world, but their potential recruits. But people 
will hardly be inclined to help the anti-terror cause if they see Washington 
embracing the governments that repress their human rights. Their reluctance 
only increases if their entire community is viewed as suspect, as many young 
male Middle Easterners and North Africans feel since September 1 1 . 

Clearly the United States needs to take extra security measures. But the U.S. 
government must also pay attention to the pathology of terrorism — the set of 
beliefs that leads some people to join in attacking civilians, to claim that the 
ends justify the means. A strong human rights culture is an antidote to this 
pathology. Human rights and security are mutually reinforcing, yet too often 
the administration treats them as a zero-sum game. 

President R" i >ht of the Cold War understood the need 

for a positive vision. He understood that the United States could not afford to 
be only against communism. It had to stand for democracy, even if at times his 
support was no more than rhetorical. Similarly, it will not work for the Bush 
administration today to be only against terrorism. The administration will have 
to stand for the values that explain what is wrong with attacking civilians — 
namely, the values of human rights. 

At times there have been hints of such a positive vision: in prominent parts 
of a speech that President Bush gave at West Point in June 2002; in part of his 
administration's National Security Strategy released in September 2002; and in 
the conditions for disbursing increased international assistance (the Millennium 
Challenge Account), announced in November 2002. 2 But this rhetorical 
embrace of human rights has translated only inconsistently into U.S. conduct 
and foreign policy. 

For much of the past half-century, the United States was often a driving 
force for strengthening the human rights ideal. It took the lead in drafting the 
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, building the international human 
rights system, and lending its voice and influence on behalf of human rights in 
many parts of the world. Often this support for human rights v 

against terrorism 115 

tent — tempered by strategic concerns and a deep resistance to applying inter- 
national law at home. Yet the U.S. government could still be found at the 
forefront of many human rights battles, and it contributed significantly to build- 
ing a global consensus about the importance of human rights as a restraint on 
legitimate governmental conduct. 

The Bush administration, too, has tried to advance human rights in places 
where the war on terrorism was not implicated, such as Burma, Belarus, and 
Zimbabwe. The administration has publicly recognized the connection between 
repression and terrorism, and to a limited extent has tried to promote human 
rights in some places that are more directly involved in the fight against terror- 
ism, such as Egypt and Uzbekistan. Yet the administration has compromised 
the long U.S. engagement on human rights in three important respects. 

First, in several key countries involved in the campaign against terrorism, 
such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, even rhetorical U.S. support for human 
rights has been sparing — often nothing more than the State Department's once- 
a-year pronouncements in its global human rights report. The administration 
also has shown little inclination to confront such influential governments as 
Russia, China, and Israel that have used the fight against terrorism to cloak or 
intensify repression aimed at separatist, dissident, or nationalist movements that 
are themselves often abusive. 

Second, even when the Bush administration has tried to promote human 
rights, its authority has been undermined by its refusal to be bound by the 
standards that it insists others abide by. From its rejection of the Geneva Con- 
ventions for prisoners from the war in Afghanistan to its misuse of the "enemy 
combatant" designation for criminal suspects at home, from its threatened use of 
substandard military commissions to its reported use of "stress and duress" inter- 
rogation techniques and its abuse of immigration laws to deny criminal suspects 
their rights, the administration has fought terrorism as if human rights were not 
a constraint. 

Third, the Bush administration has intensely opposed the enforcement of 
international human rights law, from the International Criminal Court (ICC) to 
more modest efforts to affirm or reinforce human rights norms. Similar excep- 
tionalism could be seen in such actions as the administration's rejection of the 
Kyoto Protocol on global warming, its blocking of efforts to strengthen the Bio- 
logical Weapons Convention, and its determination to go to war in Iraq without 
Security Council approval. This opposition suggests a radical vision of world 
order, a view of the superpower unconstrained by international law. Certain 
influential elements in the administration seem to view international law as an 
unnecessary encroachment on U.S. action — a set of rules to be avoided because 
they might restrict future U.S. latitude in unforeseeable and inconvenient ways. 
Instead, they advocate determining the proper scope of governmental conduct, 
if not through unilateral assertions of power, then at least through case-by-case 
negotiations, in which the U.S.'s overwhelming economic and military strength 
is more likely to prevail. 

But even might has limits. Shared norms — of commerce, peace, or human 

1 1 6 Kenneth Roth 

rights — are needed so that most governments voluntarily abide by them. Pres- 
sure may still be necessary to rein in recalcitrant governments, but an effective 
global order depends on most governments' living voluntarily by agreed-upon 
rules. Even if the result is disappointing in a particular case, most governments 
recognize that a system of law is in their interest over the long run. But that 
logic breaks down if the sole superpower routinely exempts itself from shared 
rules. If these common norms give way to relations built on power alone, the 
world will revert to a premodern, Hobbesian order. That can hardly be in the 
long-term interest of the United States or anyone else. 

The Bush administration's neglect of human rights in fighting terrorism has 
been visible in its own treatment of terrorist suspects, its bilateral relations with 
other governments, its behavior in international forums, and in elements of its 

Treatment of terrorist suspects 

Much of the criticism of the Bush administration's human rights record since 
September 1 1 has focused on the U.S.A. Patriot Act. This act — a law passed by 
Congress and signed by President Bush — contains many troubling provisions, 
such as those allowing enhanced official scrutiny of medical, library, and student 
records. But many of the administration's most flagrant abuses toward terrorist 
suspects have had nothing to do with the Patriot Act. As the following examples 
illustrate, much of the administration's most troubling conduct reflects unilateral 
executive action unconnected to any Congressional grant of authority. 

A good example is the Bush administration's disregard of the 1949 Geneva 
Conventions in its treatment of prisoners of war (POWs). Historically, the 
United States has been expansive in its compliance with the requirements of 
international humanitarian law (or the laws of war) with regard to belligerents 
captured in the course of an armed conflict. For example, the U.S. afforded 
POW status to Chinese soldiers captured during the Korean War even though 
the People's Republic of China was not a party to the Geneva Conventions. It 
provided POW status to many captured guerrillas during the Vietnam War. 
During the 1991 Gulf war, the U.S. military convened special tribunals to 
determine the legal status of more than one thousand captured Iraqis, as the 
Geneva Conventions require. 

The United States upheld international standards in part out of recognition 
that they ultimately benefit U.S. soldiers. Needless to say, the reverse is also 
true: failure to comply with the Geneva Conventions encourages noncompli- 
ance by others when U.S. service members must depend on the Conventions 
for their protection. Unfortunately, the Bush administration broke with this long 
U.S. tradition in its treatment of terrorist suspects and others detained in the 
war on terrorism. Ironically, it then found itself in the awkward position of 
having to rely on the Geneva Conventions to try to protect its captured troops 

In its treatment of the people detained at Guantanamo Ba\. the administra- 

against terrorism 117 

tion has adopted an unjustifiably narrow reading of the Geneva Conventions, 
which effectively places these detainees in a legal black hole, allowing them to 
be kept in long-term arbitrary detention despite international prohibitions. For 
instance, the Third Geneva Convention provides that captured combatants are 
to be treated as prisoners of war until a "competent tribunal" determines other- 
wise. 3 Under the standards set out in the convention, the detainees who were 
former Taliban soldiers almost certainly qualify as POWs, while many of the 
detainees who were members of Al Qaeda probably do not. 4 But the adminis- 
tration has refused to bring any of the detainees before a tribunal and has 
unilaterally asserted that none qualifies as a POW. 3 

This flouting of international humanitarian law cannot be explained by the 
exigencies of fighting terrorism. Treating the detainees as POWs would not pre- 
clude the United States from interrogating them or prosecuting them for 
committing terrorist acts or other atrocities. And POWs, like other detained 
combatants, can be held without charge or trial until the end of the relevant 
armed conflict. 

The administration's refusal to apply the Geneva Conventions seems to stem 
in part from its desire to minimize public scrutiny of its conduct. For instance, 
in the absence of criminal prosecutions, the Geneva Conventions require that 
all detainees, regardless of their status, be repatriated once "active hostilities" 
have ended. 6 In the case of at least the Taliban detainees, that would seem to 
have required repatriation as soon as the war with the Afghan government was 
over — that is, presumably, after a Lqya Jirga ("Grand Assembly") elected Hamid 
Karzai President of Afghanistan in June 2002. 

The Bush administration also breached the rule of law to take custody of 
some detainees. In October 2001 it sought the surrender in Bosnia of six Alger- 
ian men who were suspected of planning attacks on Americans. After a 
three-month investigation, Bosnia's Supreme Court ordered the men's release 
from custody for lack of evidence. When rumors spread of U.S. efforts to seize 
the suspects anyway and spirit them out of the country, Bosnia's Human Rights 
Chamber — which in fact was established under the U.S. -sponsored Dayton 
Peace Accord and includes six local and eight international members — issued 
an injunction against their removal. Yet in January 2002, under pressure from 
Washington, the Bosnian government ignored this legal ruling and delivered the 
men to U.S. forces, who whisked them away, reportedly to Guantanamo. The 
U.S. government showed similar contempt for national justice systems when in 
June 2003 it quickly removed five terrorist suspects from Malawi in violation of 
a court order. 7 

Similarly, the administration has crossed the appropriate line between war 
and law enforcement in the cases of: Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen arrested in May 
2002 as he arrived from Pakistan at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, 
allegedly to explore creating a radiological bomb; and Ali Saleh Kahlah al- 
Marri, a Qatari student arrested in December 2001 at his home in Peoria, 
Illinois, where he was said to have been a "sleeper" available to help others 
launch terrorist attacks. Padilla was briefly held as a material witness and Marri 

118 Kenneth Roth 

even had minor criminal charges filed against him. Then, in each case, rather 
than pursuing criminal prosecution, the Bush administration declared the men 
"enemy combatants." That designation, the administration claims, permits it to 
hold them without access to counsel and without charge or trial until the end of 
the war against terrorism, which may never come. 

If Padilla's and Marri's alleged offenses are rightfully viewed as acts of war, 
the administration would be within its rights to hold them as enemy combat- 
ants. But if they are more appropriately seen as crimes, the men should be 
prosecuted with full due-process rights. International law is weak in explaining 
whether war rules or law-enforcement rules should apply, but our moral judg- 
ments can provide guidance. If Padilla and Marri were really "enemy 
combatants," U.S. security forces would have been entitled to summarily shoot 
them rather than take them into custody. In war there is no obligation to take 
custody of, rather than kill, an enemy soldier who has not offered to surrender. 
Padilla could have been gunned down as he stepped off his plane at O'Hare, 
Marri as he left his home in Peoria. Most people, though, would have been 
deeply troubled by such summary killing. But if Padilla and Marri are not prop- 
erly treated as enemy combatants for the purpose of killing them, they should 
also not be treated as enemy combatants for the purpose of detaining them. 8 

The administration's expansive use of the "enemy combatant" designation 
threatens to create a giant exception to the most basic guarantees of criminal 
justice. Anyone could be picked up and detained forever as an "enemy combat- 
ant," even someone far from any recognizable battlefield, upon the unverified 
assertion of the Bush administration or any other government. The administra- 
tion's radical claim in the Padilla case is being litigated before U.S. District 
Judge Michael Mukasey in the Southern District of New York. 

Due-process shortcuts also plagued the Bush administration's detention of 
some 1,200 non-U. S. citizens whom the government sought to question regard- 
ing their links to or knowledge of the September 1 1 attacks. Of this group, 
whose number has never been fully disclosed, 752 were detained on immigra- 
tion charges but treated like criminals. Rather than grant them the rights of 
criminal suspects, the administration used immigration law to detain and inter- 
rogate them secretly, without their usual right to be charged promptly with a 
criminal offense and (in case of economic need) to government-appointed 
counsel. Immigration detainees would ordinarily be deported, allowed to leave 
the country voluntarily, or released on bond pending a hearing on their case. 
But these "special interest" detainees were kept in jail until "cleared" — that is, 
until proven innocent of terrorist connections — often for many months. None to 
date has been charged with a crime related to September ll. 9 

President Bush's November 200 1 order authorizing the creation of military 
commissions to try non-U. S. suspects lacked the most basic due-process guaran- 
tees and raised the prospect of trials that would have been a travesty of justice. 
In March 2002 the Defense Department issued regulations for the commissions 
that corrected many of the due-process problems of the original order. How- 
ever, the regulations still allow the commissions to operate without even the 

against terrorism 119 

fair-trial standards applicable in U.S. courts-martial in which defendants are 
entitled to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Armed Forces (a civilian 
court outside the control of the executive branch) and ultimately to petition the 
U.S. Supreme Court. The commission regulations permit appeal only to 
another military panel of people who must answer to the President. Through 
his surrogates, the President becomes prosecutor, trial judge, and appellate 
judge. Especially as applied away from the exigencies of the battlefield, these 
compromised commissions violate the minimum legal requirement of "an 
impartial and regularly constituted court respecting the generally recognized 
principles of regular judicial procedure." 10 If these commissions are used to try 
detainees who should be considered prisoners of war, and thus are entitled to 
the more protective procedures of a court-martial, 11 the Bush administration 
will open itself to war-crimes charges. 12 

Perhaps the most disturbing example of the administration's attitude toward 
human rights was the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) reported use of 
"stress and duress" interrogation techniques at a U.S. air force base in Bagram, 
Afghanistan. Detailed and carefully researched press accounts described the use 
of such interrogation techniques as prolonged hooding, standing while hand- 
cuffed to the ceiling, sleep deprivation, and confinement in painful positions. 1 '' 
Individually these techniques probably stop short of torture. Taken together, 
however, they almost certainly constitute "cruel, inhuman and degrading treat- 
ment" which is prohibited by the U.S. -ratified Convention Against Torture. 14 

The administration's response to this evidence has been extraordinarily dam- 
aging. It has refused to discuss the evidence, thus leaving the impression that 
the press reports are accurate. It initially stated that it rejected the use of 
torture, 1 '' but that was largely beside the point; the issue was mainly cruel, 
inhuman, and degrading treatment, not torture. It then went on to claim that 
its interrogators were acting "in full compliance with domestic and international 
law." 16 That had the effect of suggesting that, in the administration's view, it 
does not violate the prohibition on cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment to 
use these "stress and duress" interrogation techniques. 

As noted above, this is almost certainly inaccurate as a matter of law. More- 
over, in ratifying the Convention Against Torture, the administration effectively 
equated the prohibition on cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment with the 
Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual pun- 
ishment. 1 ' But no U.S. judge today would ever permit a detainee to be 
subjected to similar "third degree" techniques. The administration's insistence 
that these interrogation techniques are nonetheless lawful thus has the effect of 
legitimizing similar techniques being used by unsavory regimes around the 
world, potentially even against U.S. detainees. 

In June 2003, at the urging of human rights groups, the Bush administration 
affirmed that it would conduct worldwide investigations consistent with the U.S. 
Constitution's prohibition of "cruel, unusual, and inhumane treatment and 
punishment." "United States policy is to treat all detainees and conduct all 
interrogations, wherever they may occur, in a manner consistent with this 

120 Kenneth Roth 

commitment," announced William J. Haynes II, General Counsel of the 
Department of Defense. He promised that "credible allegations of illegal 
conduct by U.S. personnel will be investigated and, as appropriate, reported to 
proper authorities," noting that two deaths in U.S. custody at Bagram were still 
under investigation by the Defense Department. 18 This was an important step 
forward. Nonetheless, the administration has not made clear whether it has 
issued orders prohibiting any of the "stress and duress" interrogation techniques 
reportedly practiced at Bagram or whether, except in the two death cases, any 
interrogators are under investigation. 

This overall pattern of abuse in the Bush administration's own treatment of 
terrorist suspects sends a signal of contempt for basic human rights standards. It 
suggests that the administration sees international human rights standards as an 
inconvenient obstacle to fighting terrorism that is readily sidestepped rather 
than as an integral part of the anti-terrorism effort. 

Bilateral relations 

A similar disregard for human rights can be found in U.S. bilateral relations 
with many countries that are critical to the fight against terrorism. Afghanistan, 
the primary focus of anti-terrorism efforts immediately after September 1 1 , 
illustrates the problem. The military overthrow of the highly abusive Taliban 
raised the prospect of greater freedom for the Afghan people. And if one judged 
by Kabul, where international peacekeepers patrol, life has improved dramati- 
cally. But the Bush administration has offered lukewarm support for the 
deployment of international troops outside of the capital (European govern- 
ments have been equally reluctant) and has taken few meaningful steps to 
demobilize factional forces or establish a professional Afghan army. Instead, it 
has delegated security to resurgent warlords and provided them with money 

In some parts of the country, the consequences look much like life under the 
Taliban, a far cry from President Bush's vow to help Afghanistan "claim its 
democratic future." 19 For example, Ismail Khan, the Herat-based warlord in 
western Afghanistan, has stamped out all dissent, muzzled the press, and 
bundled women back into their burqas. Those who resist face death threats, 
detention, and sometimes even torture. 20 Afghans who had taken refuge in Iran 
during Taliban rule complained to Human Rights Watch that they had been 
freer under the Iranian clerics than they are under Khan. Yet U.S. Defense Sec- 
retary Donald Rumsfeld, after a visit to Herat in April 2002, called Khan an 
"appealing person." 21 Under growing pressure to address the violence and inse- 
curity outside of Kabul, the Bush administration has sent small teams of soldiers 
and civil affairs officers to various Afghan provincial cities, mainly for develop- 
ment work. Their presence offers some modestly enhanced security, but it is far 
from the focused security effort needed to end the reigns of the warlords. In 
May 2003 the Bush administration rejected Afghan President Hamid Karzai's 
request for military assistance to remove some of the more abusive warlords. 22 

' against terrorism 121 

In Pakistan, some form of military alliance with General Pervez Musharraf, 
who overthrew an elected government in 1999 was probably unavoidable. In 
the process, however, thi istration has virtually abandoned the pro- 

motion of human rights and democracy in that country. In 2002 Musharraf 
pushed through constitutional amendments that extended his presidential term 
by five years, arrogated to himself the power to dissolve the elected parlianrent, 
and created a military-dominated National Security Council to oversee civilian 
government. When asked about this disturbing trend, President Bush said, "My 
reaction about President Musharraf, he's still tight with us on the war against 
terror, and that's what I appreciate." 23 Only as an afterthought did Bush also 
mention the importance of democracy. 24 With Washington supporting Pak- 
istan's military ruler and the repressive warlords next door in Afghanistan, it 
should have been no surprise that anti-U.S. political parties in Pakistan were 
the big winners in the parliamentary elections of October 2002. Their victory as 
well in simultaneous local elections in the two provinces bordering Afghanistan 
has complicated U.S. efforts to apprehend residual Taliban and Al Qaeda forces 
in the area. 

In Indonesia an abusive military and allied militia have been major factors in 
separatist and communal strife in places such as the western province of Aceh. 
The government's inability to hold abusive military figures accountable has 
been a major cause of popular discontent. Military-sponsored atrocities in East 
Timor in 1999 led the United States to cut off some military assistance. But 
with Indonesia seen as a major front in the battle against terrorism, the Bush 
administration has tried to resume military training, even though little if any 
progress has been made in subjecting the military to the rule of law. 

The administration also sought dismissal of a lawsuit brought in a U.S. court 
by victims of military atrocities in Indonesia who sought compensation from 
Exxon Mobil for its alleged complicity in the abuse. The suit, filed in June 200 1 
in Washington, alleged that the Indonesian military had provided "security ser- 
vices" for Exxon Mobil's joint venture in Indonesia's conflict-ridden Aceh 
province, and that the Indonesian military had committed "genocide, murder, 
torture, crimes against humanity, sexual violence and kidnapping" while provid- 
ing security for the company from 1999 to 2001. The plaintiffs claimed that 
Exxon Mobil had been aware of widespread abuses committed by the military 
but had failed to take preventive action. In a July 2002 letter from State 
Department Legal Adviser William H. Taft IV, the administration justified its 
opposition to this effort to enforce human rights standards in part out of its 
stated fear that Indonesia would retaliate by stopping its cooperation in the war 
on terrorism. 25 

A broad range of other U.S. allies in the war on terrorism have received sim- 
ilarly soft treatment for their human rights abuses. For example, Russian 
President Vladimir Putin has faced only mild criticism of his troops' continuing 
brutal behavior in Chechnya; their atrocities have only intensified after Chechen 
militants took some 700 people hostage in a Moscow theater in October 
2002. In China's western Xinjiang province, Beijing has long repressed the 

122 Kenneth Roth 

Turkic-speaking Uighur majority, China's largest Muslim population. Despite 
the administration's occasional criticism of Chinese conduct in Xinjiang, the 
decision to designate as a terrorist organization the small Eastern Turkistan 
Islamic Movement, which was said to be a Uighur movement from Xinjiang, 
provides added cover for Chinese repression of the Uighurs. In a break with 
past U.S. practice, the current Bush administration announced in April 2003 
that, in light of supposed "progress," it would not sponsor critical resolutions 
against either Russia or China at the March- April 2003 session of the Commis- 
sion on Human Rights (CHR), the U.N.'s leading human rights body. 26 

The overriding message sent by these U.S. bilateral actions was that human 
rights are dispensable in the name of fighting terrorism. That policy may 
provide greater leeway for short-term security measures. But if an important 
aim is to build a culture of human rights in place of the pathology of terrorism, 
it sends a dangerous and counterproductive signal, that it is acceptable to 
replace respect for the life of every person with the view that the ends justify the 

International forums 

At the multilateral level, the Bush administration has consistently opposed any 
effort to enforce human rights standards. This posture is not entirely new. Both 
Democratic and Republican administrations have always kept human rights 
treaties at arm's length. The U.S. government has never ratified three of the 
seven leading human rights treaties 27 or the leading treaty governing modern 
armed conflict. 28 Even when it ratifies a human rights treaty, it does so in a way 
that denies Americans the ability to enforce the treaty in any court, whether 
international or domestic. 29 This resistance to enforceable human rights stan- 
dards has only intensified since September 1 1 . 

The resistance was on display at the March- April 2002 session of the Com- 
mission on Human Rights in Geneva. Mexico proposed a resolution that 
stressed the importance of fighting terrorism consistent with human rights. The 
resolution did not condemn any state; it simply reaffirmed an essential principle. 
Yet the Bush administration opposed it. It was joined by Algeria, India, Pak- 
istan, and Saudi Arabia — hardly committed supporters of the international 
enforcement of human rights. Mexico ultimately withdrew the resolution. Not 
until eight months later, in December 2002, did the General Assembly eventu- 
ally adopt a similar resolution, when the administration's opposition failed to 
derail it. The CHR then reaffirmed that resolution in its March-April 2003 

The administration also opposed efforts at the United Nations to strengthen 
the prohibition against torture. It objected to a proposed new Optional Protocol 
to the Convention Against Torture, which establishes a system for inspecting 
detention facilities where torture is suspected, an important preventive measure. 
The administration's position was at first puzzling, because the United States 
opposes torture as a matter of policy and has ratified the Torture Convention. If 

against terrorism 123 

Washington wanted to avoid scrutiny under this new inspection procedure, it 
could simply not ratify the protocol, which, as its name suggests, is optional. 
The administration's decision, instead, to try to deprive other states of this 
added human rights protection stems from an evident desire to avoid strength- 
ening any international human rights law that might even remotely be used to 
criticize its own conduct — especially, one must assume, its interrogation of secu- 
rity suspects at Bagram air base in Afghanistan. 30 The Optional Protocol came 
to a vote before the General Assembly in December 2002; the United States 
was one of only four governments to oppose it, against 127 supporters. 

The administration's opposition to the enforcement of human rights stan- 
dards has been most extreme in the case of the International Criminal Court. 
The court has numerous safeguards to address legitimate U.S. concerns about 
politicized prosecutions. Crimes are defined narrowly — in fact, more narrowly 
than even U.S. military manuals define them. Several independent panels of 
judges oversee prosecutorial decisions. A mere majority of the states party can 
impeach an abusive prosecutor (and most of the states party are democracies, 
given that ratification subjects a government's own conduct to the court's juris- 
diction). Governments can avoid ICC prosecution altogether by conducting 
their own good-faith investigations and, if appropriate, prosecutions. Moreover, 
the ICC does not purport to exert jurisdiction over a suspect unless the suspect's 
government has ratified the Court's treaty or the suspect is alleged to have com- 
mitted a crime on the territory of a government that has ratified the 
treaty — both long-accepted bases of jurisdiction. 

Yet the Bush administration has declared a virtual war on the Court. It took 
the unprecedented step of repudiating former President Bill Clinton's signature 
on the ICC treaty. It threatened to shut down U.N. peacekeeping unless U.S. 
participants in operations authorized by the world organization were exempted 
iigton has threatened to cut off military aid to gov- 
ernments unless they agree never to deliver to the court a suspect who is a U.S. 
citizen. And President Bush signed legislation authorizing military intervention 
to free any U.S. suspect held by the ICC, dubbed the "Hague Invasion Act." 
With occasional exceptions, the administration did not discourage governments 
from ratifying the ICC treaty for the sole purpose of addressing conduct by 
others, and by mid-2003 some 90 governments had joined the Court — well 
above the 60 needed for the treaty to take effect. But the Bush administration's 
efforts to exempt U.S. nationals from the Court's investigations and prosecu- 
tions advance a double standard that threatens to undermine its legitimacy. 
Indeed, that may well be the administration's goal. Its posture is particularly 
disappointing because the states party to the ICC treaty have selected a top- 
notch prosecutor and a highly professional group of judges. 31 

By these multilateral interventions, across a wide range of issues, the Bush 
administration signals that human rights standards are at best window dressing. 
They are fine grand pronouncements, but their universal enforcement, which 
might affect the United States even indirectly, is to be avoided. This under- 
mines these norms. It also undermines the credibility of the United States as a 

124 Kenneth Roth 

proponent of human rights, whether ii 
■ rial affronts to human rights. 

Consequences for the campaign against terrorism 

The Bush administration's willingness to sidestep human rights as it fights ter- 
rorism has potentially profound and dangerous consequences. At the very least, 
it means that the United States is a party to serious abuse. If Washington pro- 
vides assistance to abusive warlords in Afghanistan or a military dictatorship 
such as Pakistan's, it becomes complicit in the abuses that they foreseeably 
commit. And senior officials in Washington seem to be covering up for the use 
of allusive techniques by CIA interrogators at Bagram air base. 

In addition, Washington's neglect of human rights threatens to impede its 
campaign against terrorism. As President Bush himself has observed, repression 
fuels terrorism by closing off avenues for peaceful dissent. Yet if the U.S. cam- 
paign against terrorism reinforces that repression, it risks breeding more 
terrorists as it alienates would-be allies in the fight against terrorism. 

The administration's subordination of human rights to the campaign against 
terrorism also has bred a "copycat phenomenon." By waving the anti-terrorism 
banner, governments such as Uzbekistan's seem to act as if they have greater 
license to persecute religious dissenters, while governments such as Russia's, 
Israel's, and China's seem to act with greater freedom as they intensify repres- 
sion in Chechnya, the West Bank, and Xinjiang. 32 Similarly, Tunisia has 
stepped up trying civilians on terrorism charges before military courts that fla- 
grantly disregard due-process righis. ' ' Claiming that asylum-seekers can be a 
"pipeline for terrorists" entering the country, Australia has imposed some of the 
tightest restrictions on asylum in the industrialized world. 34 Facing forces on the 
right and left that had been designated terrorists, Colombia's President Alvaro 
Uribe tried to permit warrantless searches and wiretaps and to restrict the 
movement of journalists (until the country's highest court ruled these measures 
unconstitutional) . 35 

In sub-Saharan Africa, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni shut down the 
leading independent newspaper for a week in October 2002 because it was 
allegedly promoting terrorism. It had reported a military defeat for the govern- 
ment in its battle against the Lord's Resistance Army rebel group. 36 In June 
2002 Liberia's President Charles Taylor declared three of his critics — the editor 
of a local newspaper and two others — to be "illegal combatants" who would 
be tried for terrorism in a military court. 37 Eritrea justified its lengthy detention 
of the founder of the country's leading newspaper by citing the widespread 
U.S. detentions. 38 Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe justified the Nov- 
ember 2001 arrest of six journalists as terrorists because they wrote stories 
about political violence in the country. 39 Elsewhere, even former Yugoslav Pres- 
ident Slobodan Milosevic defended himself against war-crimes charges by 
contending that abusive troops under his command had merely been combat- 
ing t< 

The fight against terrorism 1 25 

The inconsistency of the Bush administration's attention to human rights 
abroad also weakens an important voice for human rights when the United 
States does speak out. The most dramatic example was the case of Saadeddin 
Ibrahim, the Egyptian democracy activist who was sentenced in July 2002 to 
seven years in prison for his peaceful political activities. To its credit, the admin- 
istration not only protested but also said it would withhold an incremental 
increase in aid that might have gone to Egypt. That was a dramatic step — the 
first time that the United States had conditioned aid on the positive resolution 
of a human rights case in the Middle East. But in light of Washington's long 
history of closing its eyes to human rights abuses in the region, and its failure to 
protest Egypt's similar persecution of Islamists for nonviolent political activity, 
many Egyptians distrusted the administration's motives. Even some Egyptian 
human rights groups denounced the action. In December, Egypt's highest 
appeals court — with a long tradition of independence of the government — 
reversed Ibrahim's conviction and ordered a new trial. But the effectiveness of 
Washington's voice as a means to build broad public support for human rights 
was shown to have been compromised. 

The war in Iraq 

The Bush administration sought to justify the military overthrow of Saddam 
Hussein as part of the war against terrorism. The war's origins were clearly 
more complex than that, but this rationale nonetheless bears discussion in light 
of the administration's broader disinclination to recognize human rights as a 
constraint on the fight against terrorism. Because the invasion was so controver- 
sial, risking long-term damage to the U.S.'s reputation in the Middle East and 
around the world, the Bush administration had an especially strong incentive to 
fight the war consistently with international humanitarian law. In many respects 
it did, but even in Iraq it fell short of these requirements in several important 

Saddam Hussein's human rights record is as bad as they come, lending some 
credibility to the claim that human rights in part motivated the war, even 
though he was a U.S. ally at the time of some of his gravest crimes. In 1988, in 
the notorious Anfal campaign, he committed genocide against the Kurds. After 
using chemical weapons on at least 40 occasions to drive Kurds from their high- 
land villages, his forces rounded up and executed some 100,000, mostly men 
and boys. In suppressing the 1991 uprisings, his forces killed an estimated 
30,000 Iraqis, mostly Kurds in the north and Shi'a in the south. In the follow- 
ing years, untold atrocities were committed against the so-called Marsh Arabs. 
On a daily basis, the Iraqi government used arbitrary detention, torture, and 
execution to maintain power. A conservative estimate would be that under 
Saddam Hussein's rule the Iraqi government killed some quarter of a million 
Iraqis — an average of 10,000 a year. 

But the war on Iraq was never a humanitarian intervention in the sense that 
it was waged primarily for the benefit of the Iraqi people. If Saddam Hussein 

126 Kenneth Roth 

had been overthrown in a palace coup and replaced by an equally repressive 
dictator who nonetheless was willing to cooperate in ridding the country of 
alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD), there clearly would have been no 
invasion. It is, of course, important from a human rights perspective to stop the 
possible use of WMD, but the Bush administration never provided credible evi- 
dence of such a current (as opposed to a historical) threat. 

In part because of the questionable justification for the war, the Bush admin- 
istration's conduct of the war was closely scrutinized for its compliance with 
international humanitarian law. Preliminary investigation suggests that several 
iig practices were discernible. 

First, despite the duty to refrain from indiscriminate warfare and to take all 
feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties, the Pentagon continued to use 
cluster munitions near populated areas. These weapons are particularly deadly 
when used near civilians because they disperse over a wide area and are difficult 
to target precisely. In the Yugoslav war of 1999 the use of cluster munitions in 
populated areas was responsible for some quarter of the civilian deaths caused 
directly by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's bombing. Apparently 
because of this death toll, the U.S. Air Force made little use of cluster bombs 
near populated areas in Afghanistan, 41 and it seemed largely to refrain from 
such use in Iraq as well. However, available evidence suggests that the U.S. 
Army did use cluster munitions in Iraqi population centers, including Baghdad, 
Basra, Hilla, and Nasiriya. This represents a disturbing regression in Pentagon 
practice. It is too early to tell why this occurred, but one working hypothesis is 
that while U.S. air forces learned the dangers of cluster bomb use in populated 
areas, U.S. ground forces had not integrated that lesson because they had not 
taken part in the Yugoslav and Afghan wars in large numbers. The Pentagon's 
leadership can be faulted for apparendy failing to bring ground forces up to the 
level of practice of air forces. 42 

A second test for U.S. forces in Iraq is whether they did everything feasible 
to prevent Iraqis from killing other Iraqis during the war — a genuine fear in 
light of Iraq's recent history. In one respect, the Bu 

meeting this challenge, but in another respect it was disappointing. One of the 
greatest fears before the war was that Saddam Hussein, as a last resort in the 
face of his imminent overthrow, would take to massacring Iraqi civilians, espe- 
cially groups seen as historically opposed to his rule, such as the Kurds and the 
Shi'a. In an effort to dissuade his lieutenants from carrying out any such orders, 
President Bush personally vowed on several occasions that any Iraqi who com- 
mitted atrocities during the war would be prosecuted. 43 It is difficult to know 
how decisive his warning was — the bombing of communications facilities was 
undoubtedly also important — but once the war began Iraqi government forces 
did not apparently commit any further large-scale massacres. 

The Bush administration was less effective in preventing private Iraqis from 
seeking summary vengeance against other Iraqis. During the 1991 uprising, 
Iraqi rebel forces, both Kurdish and Shi'a, summarily executed government 
officials, Baath Party members, and other perceived supporters of Saddam 

against terrorism 127 

Hussein. To prevent a recurrence of this slaughter, Human Rights Watch and 
others argued that it was essential, as U.S. troops gradually toppled Saddam 
Hussein's government, not to leave a security vacuum. Instead, the Pentagon 
was urged to ensure that fighting troops were followed closely by military police 
who would be capable of vigorously patrolling and keeping the peace. However, 
the Bush administration was anxious to begin the war before summer's heat 
arrived — not to mention before the growing political heat of anti-war demon- 
strations around the world intensified. Hence the U.S. launched the invasion 
before sufficient troops were in place to maintain security after predictable 
victory. As a result, widespread looting and general lawlessness occurred. 4 * U.S. 
troops, apparently lacking adequate training in policing, have also left a signifi- 
cant death toll as they attempt to maintain order. 45 

Future tests of the Bush administration's commitment to human rights in 
Iraq remain. Does the administration have the long-term commitment needed 
to build a stable, secure, and democratic environment, or will it resort to short- 
cuts similar to its "warlord strategy" in Afghanistan? Will the administration 
ensure that Iraq's oil riches do not become an incentive for renewed dictator- 
ship and corruption? 41 ' Will the administration endorse a fair and legitimate 
process to bring to justice those who have been responsible for the worst atroci- 
ties of the past two-and-a-half decades? 

So far, on the issue of justice, the administration has been particularly dis- 
appointing in proposing "Iraqi-led" tribunals. That sounds fine in theory — why 
not let Iraqis build the rule of law themselves? But in practice it shows little 
regard for the rule of law. It will be difficult to find Iraqi jurists who have the 
expertise needed to conduct a complex trial of genocide or crimes against 
humanity. Moreover, whether they served under Saddam Hussein's government 
or fled into exile, many Iraqi jurists will be seen as biased — and particularly if 
they are handpicked by Washington rather than selected by the United Nations 
or some other international body. Tribunals are likely to have much more capa- 
bility and credibility if they have a significant international component — either 
an entirely international tribunal such as those established for Rwanda and the 
former Yugoslavia, or an internationally led tribunal with local participation, 
such as the special court established for Sierra Leone. 

However, the Bush administration is adamantly opposed to an international 
tribunal. Three reasons seem to lie behind this opposition. First, the administra- 
tion seems to fear that an international tribunal might scrutinize the conduct of 
allies or even of the United States itself, whereas a tribunal made up of hand- 
picked Iraqis would be more pliable. Second, international tribunals 
traditionally do not impose the death penalty, which the administration hopes 
to apply. Third, the administration opposes any international tribunal for fear 
that it would lend credibility to the entire project of international justice, includ- 
ing the ICC. The resolution of this issue will play an important part in 
determining whether Saddam Hussein's overthrow will lead the way to a gov- 
ernment bound by the rule of law. 47 

128 Kenneth Roth 


The security threat posed by terrorism should not obscure the importance of 
human rights. Military or police action can be seductive. It leaves the impres- 
sion that the problem is being addressed head-on. Concern with human rights, 
by contrast, may seem peripheral — of long-term utility, undoubtedly, but not an 
immediate priority. 

That view is profoundly mistaken. An anti-terrorism policy that ignores 
human rights is a gift to terrorists. It reaffirms the violent instrumentalism that 
breeds terrorism and undermines the public support needed to defeat it. This 
approach is likely to make the United States less secure, not more. A strong 
human rights policy cannot replace the actions of security forces, but it is an 
essential complement. A successful anti-terrorism policy must endeavor to build 
strong international norms and institutions on human rights, not provide a new 
rationale for avoiding and undermining them. 


1 Adam Clymer. "World Survey Says Negative Views of U.S. Are Rising," New York 
Times, December 5, 2002, p. A22; The Pew Research Center for the People and the 
Press, "What the World Thinks in 2002: How Global Publics View: Their Lives, 
Their Countries, The World, America," December 4, 2002, http:/ /people-press. 

2 "President Bush Delivers Graduation Speech at West Point," http: //www.; "The National Security 
Strategy of the United States of America." 
nss.html; "The Millenium Challenge Account," 
infocus / de velopingnations /millennium . html . 

3 Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of August 12, 
1949 (Third Geneva Convention), Article 5. The United States ratified the conven- 
tion in 1955. 

4 Taliban detainees should have been eligible for POW status under Article 4 (A) (1) of 
the Third Geneva Convention, which grants such status unconditionally to "mem- 
bers of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict." The same should have been true 
for Al Qaeda detainees who had belonged to a militia "forming part of the Taliban 
forces. However, Al Qaeda members operating outside of Taliban structures would 
have to meet a separate four-part test under Article 4 (A) (2) of the Convention — 
having a responsible chain of command, wearing a distinctive sign, carrying .inns 
openly, and respecting the laws and customs of war. Because these Al Qaeda 
members would likely fail one or more of these requirements, they would probably 
be ineligible for POW status. 

5 The administration justified its position by merging two distinct provisions of the 
Third Geneva Convention with regard to prisoners of war. One section provides 
that the regular armed forces of a state party to a conflict are entitled to automatic 
POW status. The second section provides that certain irregular militia are entitled to 
POW status only if they meet a four-part test, involving having a responsible chain 
of command, wearing a distinctive uniform, bearing arms openly, and generally 
respecting international humanitarian law. The first section likely would embrace the 
Taliban detainees, but the Bush administration refused in light of a Red Cross com- 
mentary suggesting that "regular armed forces" are presumed to meet the four-part 
test. The Taliban, the administration claimed, did not meet that test. However, the 

against terrorism 1 29 

interpretation of the law would invite unscrupulous governments to 
ignore POW rules on the grounds that an enemy government's regular armed forces 
did not meet the four-part test — a loophole that the plain language of the Third 
Geneva Convention avoids. 

6 Third Geneva Convention. Article 118. 

7 See, for example, "Families speak of terror in Malawi al Qaeda raids," Reuters, 
June 25, 2003; "Ententes au Malawi apres le transfert de suspects vers Guanta- 
namo," Le Monde, July 1, 2003. 

8 For an elaboration of this argument in the Padilla case, see Kenneth Roth, "Foreign 
Enemies and Constitutional Rights," Chicago Tribune, November 10, 2002, p. 6. 

9 For more on the Bush administration's abuse of immigration I.iwn to conduct criminal 
investigations, sec Human Right*; Watch. "Pre-iunipiion nf Cuilt: Human Rights Abuses 
of Post-September 11 Detainees," August, 2002, 
us91 l/Index.htm#TopOfPage; see also "The September 11 Detainees: A Review of 
the Treatment of Aliens Held on Immigration Charges in Connection with the Investi- 
gation of the September 11 Attacks," U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector 
General, April 2003, 

10 Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to 
the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflict (Protocol I), Article 75. 
Although the United States has not ratified Protocol I, the requirements of Article 75 
nonetheless bind the United States because they reflect customary international law. 

1 1 Third Geneva Convention, Article 102. POWs can be "validly sentenced only if the 
sentence has been pronounced by the same courts according to the same procedure 
as in the case of members or the armed forces of the Detaining Power." 

12 Third Geneva Convention, Article 130, defining "grave breaches." or war crimes, to 
include "willfully depriving a prisoner of war of the rights of fair and regular trial 
prescribed by this Convention." 

13 Dana Priest and Barton Cellman, "U.S. Decries Abuse but Defends Interrogations; 
'Stress and Duress' Tactics Used on Terrorism Suspects Held in Secret Overseas 
Facilities," Washington Post, December 26, 2003, p. Al; see also Carlotta Gall, "U.S. 
Military Investigating Death of Afghan in Custody," New York Times, March 4, 2003, 
p. A14. 

14 See, for example, the European Court of Human Rights 's decision in Ireland v. the 
United Kingdom (1978) or the Israeli Supreme Court's decision on the interrogation 
methods of the General Security Service (1999). 

15 Reuters, "Bush Assures U.N. Rights Boss U.S. not Using Torture," March 7, 2003. 

16 Alan Cooperman, "CIA Interrogation Under Fire; Human Rights Groups Say 
Techniques Could Be Torture," Washington Post, December 28, 2002, p. A9. 

17 U.S. reservations, declarations, and understandings, Convention Against Torture 
and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Congressional 
Record SI 7486-01, daily edition, October 27, 1990, 

18 Letter from William J. Haynes II, General Counsel of the Department of Defense, 
to Senator Patrick J. Leahy, June 25, 2003, 
to-leahv.pdf. See also Peter Slevin, "U.S. Pledges Not to Torture Terror Suspects," 
Washington Post, June 27, 2003, p. Al. 

19 Remarks by the President on U.S. Humanitarian Aid to Afghanistan, The White 
House, October 11, 2002, 

20 Human Rights Watch, "We Want to Live As Humans: Repression of Women and 
Girls in Western Afghanistan," December 2002, 
afghnwmnl202/; Human Rights Watch, "All Our Hopes Are Crushed: Violence 
and Repression in Western Afghanistan," October 2002, 

130 Kenneth Roth 

21 Linda D. Kozaryn, '"On the Ed hanistun." American Forces 
Press Service, May 3, 2002, 
usdefense2002-018.htm#7; see also Glenn Kessler, "Study Cites Repression by 
Afghan Governor," Washington Post, November 5, 2002, p. A22. 

22 See Sarah Chayes, "Afghanistan's Future Lost in the Shuffle," New York Times, 
July 1, 2003. 

23 "President Tours Area Damage by Squires Fire, Ruch, Oregon," August 22, 2002, 

24 Bush was equally fulsome in his praise of Musharraf s cooperation in fighting terror- 
ism and not much more outspoken in pressing for democracy during Musharrafs 
visit to Washington in June 2003. See White House transcript of remarks, June 24, 

25 For a copy of the Taft letter, see 
pdf. For a discussion of the lawsuit, see Human Rights Watch, "U.S. /Indonesia: 
Bull Backtracks on Corporate Responsibility," August 7, 2002, http://www.hrw. 
org/press/2002/08/exxon080702.htm. On May 8, 2003, in a separate suit against 
Unocal, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft filed an amicus brief opposing any use 
of the Alien Tort Claims Act to bring civil suit against human rights abusers. See 
Human Rights Watch, "U.S.: Ashcroft Attacks Human Rights Law," May 15, 2003, 

26 Edward Alden, "US Drops Censure of China on Human Rights," Financial Times 
Online, April 11, 2003, 

27 The United States has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political 
Rights; the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading 
Treatment or Punishment; the International Convention on the Elimination of All 
Forms of Racial Discrimination; and the Convention on the Prevention and Punish- 
ment of the Crime of Genocide. It has not ratified the International Covenant on 
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the Convention on the Elimination of All 
Forms of Discrimination Against Women; or the Convention on the Rights of the 

28 Protocol I of the Geneva Convention. 

29 For a discussion of the methods that the U.S. government has used to prevent judi- 
cial enforcement of human rights treaties, see Kenneth Roth, "An Empire Above the 
Law," Bard Journal of Global Affairs 2 (Fall 2002), pp. 32-6; Kenneth Roth, "The 
Charade of U.S. Ratification of International Human Right-; Treaties," Chicago 
Journal of International Law 1, no. 2 (Fall 2000), pp. 347-53. 

30 See, for example, Dana Priest and Barton Gellman, "U.S. Decries Abuse but 
Defends Interrogations: 'Stress and Duress' Tactics Used on Terrorism Suspects 
Held in Secret Overseas Facilities," Washington Post, December 26, 2002, p. AOL 

31 See, for example, "The International Criminal Court," ,\<;r Fork Times National 
edition), March 29, 2003. 

32 For more on the human rights record of these countries in 2002, see Human Rights 
Watch, World Report 2003 (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2003), pp. 216-29 
(China), 350-9 (Russia), 382-90 (Uzbekistan), 459-72 (Israel). See also Human 
Rights Watch, "Russia: Clock Running Out for Displaced Chechens in Ingushetia,"" 
December 26, 2002,; Mike Jen 
drzejczyk, "Condemning the Crackdown in Western China," Asian Wall Street 
Journal, December 16, 2002, p. A16; Reuters, "China steps up call to fight Miilim 
separatists," December 23, 2002. 

33 Human Rights Watch, World Report 2003, pp. 488-96. 

34 Human Rights Watch, By Invitation Only: Australian Asylum Policy ;New York: Human 
Rights Watch, 2002). 

35 Human Rights Watch, World Report 2003, -p. 127. 

36 Human Rights Watch, "Uganda Attacks Freedom of the Press: Closes Main In- 

against terrorism 1 3 1 

dependent Newspaper," October 11, 2002, 

37 Human Rights Watch, "Leading Liberian Journalist Re- Arrested: Facing Possible 
'Terrorist' Charges," July 4, 2002, 

38 Fred Hiatt, "Truth-Tellers in a Time of Terror." Washington Post, November 25, 
2002, p. A15. See also Human Rights Watch, "Opportunism in the Face of Tragedy: 
Repression in the Name of Anti-Terrorism," 
septemberl l/opportunismwatch.htm#Eritrea; Human Rights Watch, "Eritrea: 
Cease Persecution of Journalists and Dissidents," May 16, 2002, 
press/2002/05/eritrea05 16.htm; Human Rights Watch, "Escalating Crackdown in 
Eritrea: Reformists, Journalists, Students At Risk," September 21, 2001, http:// 1 /09/eritrea092 1 .htm. 

39 Human Rights Watch, "Opportunism in the Face of Tragedy: Repression in the 
Name of Anti-terrorism."' 1/opportuni 

40 On February 14, 2002, Milosevic delivered his opening defence .il the International 
Criminal Tribunal for die former Yugoslavia, in The Hague: "The Americans go 
right the other side of the globe to fight against terrorism — in Afghanistan, a case in 
point, right the other side of the world, and that is considered to be logical and 
normal. Whereas here the struggle against terrorism in the heart of one's own 
country, in one's own home, is considered to be a crime." 
icty/transe54/0202 14IT.htm, pp. 248-9. 

41 Human Rights Watch, Fatally Flawed: Cluster Bombs and their I'se by the I'nited States in 
Afghanistan (New York: Human Rights Watch, 2002). 

42 Human Rights Watch, "U.S. Misleading on Cluster Munitions," April 25, 2003,; Human Rights Watch, "U.S. 
Use of Clusters in Baghdad Condemned," April 16, 2003, 

43 See, for example, "Bush's Speech on Iraq: 'Saddam Hussein and His Sons Must 
Leave'," JVew York Times, March 18, 2003, p. A14. 

44 Human Rights Watch, "Iraq: Killings, Expulsions on the Rise in Kirkuk: U.S. Not 
Fulfilling Duties of 'Occupying Power'," April 15, 2003, 

45 See, for example, Ian Fisher, "U.S. Troops Fire on Iraqi Protesters, Leaving 15 
Dead," JVew York Times, April 30, 2002. 

46 See Human Rights Watch, "Post-War Oil Management Should Bolster Rights, 
Benefit Iraqis," April 18, 2003, 

47 For more on this, see Kenneth Roth, "Give Iraqis Real Justice— Not a U.S. Puppet 
Show," Globe and Mail (Toronto), April 10, 2003, p. A21. 

Part 3 

U.S. unilateralism in 
the wake of Iraq 

6 Bush, Iraq, and the U.N. 
Whose idea was this anyway? 

Edward C. Luck 

Who or what convinced President George W. Bush in August 2002 to make the 
United Nations the centerpiece of his campaign to build domestic and inter- 
national support for using force in Iraq? And why did he persist in that effort 
for so many months despite substantial frustrations along the way? To some the 
answer may seem obvious: the U.N. is the world's premier political body, its 
Charter requires Security Council authorization for the use of force, and the 
Council has been seized of various aspects of the Iraqi challenge to global order 
for a dozen years. Yet the world body had failed in all those years to attain the 
goals that the President was seeking, in large part because the Council was bit- 
terly and chronically divided on the critical question of how — sometimes even 
on whether — to enforce its numerous resolutions on Iraq. The President's 
enthusiasm for international law and multilateralism, moreover, had been 
episodic at best. To many, he would have seemed an unlikely candidate and this 
would have appeared an unpropitious moment to try to stiffen the Security 
Council's resolve in dealing with Saddam Hussein and to rescue its lagging 
credibility in the process. That would have been a tall order even for a Texan 
with the potential to be the world's last idealist or its newest imperialist. 

This chapter weighs against the available evidence the four factors most 
often cited for the President's decision: U.S. public opposition to a war with 
Iraq and its preference for a more multilateral approach; Congressional pres- 
sure; the insistence of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other foreign 
leaders; and the persuasiveness of Secretary of State Colin Powell, backed by 
many of the U.S. foreign policy elite. These findings should be tested against 
additional information on the inner workings of the Bush White House as it 
becomes available. While each of these dimensions has its place as part of the 
explanation, this chapter finds that a largely overlooked fifth factor — the Presi- 
dent's own views, values, and priorities — appears to have been the decisive link 
and glue among them. 1 Once he decided to engage the U.N., he did manage to 
have some success not only in framing the issues to be addressed and defining 
the political context in which they were to be considered, but also in influencing 
the positions of other actors. To a certain extent, the successes and failures of 
atic campaign, and it had plenty of both, were 
attributable to the strengths and weaknesses of the President's understanding of 

1 36 Edward C. Luck 

the world and of his office. Key in this case was his abiding confidence that he 
could persuade the world and employ the Security Council to advance his 
vision of a transformed and disarmed Iraq and of a reinvigorated and more 
muscular United Nations. 

The chapter focuses on the critical six weeks preceding the President's water- 
shed speech to the General Assembly on September 12, 2002, when he 
challenged the member states to enforce more than a decade of Security 
Council resolutions demanding that Iraq give up its weapons of mass destruc- 
tion and related surface-to-surface missiles. Two decisions were critical during 
this period: to attempt to arouse and engage the world body on this matter; and 
to call for specific U.N. action, in particular for yet another resolution that 
could be interpreted as an authorization to use force to disarm Iraq. This 
chapter lacks room to consider the ill-fated third decision, in February 2003, to 
seek a second resolution on Iraq's non-compliance given growing international 
opposition to the use of force to disarm the Baghdad regime. While that deci- 
sion in some ways seems even more problematic than the first, the die was cast, 
in large measure, in August 2002 in choosing to go the U.N. route in the first 
place. In some ways, the decision to return to the Security Council following 
the war for the negotiation of Resolution 1483 on the legal and institutional 
framework for postwar reconstruction represented an important step toward the 
reconciliation of national and international goals. Though the chapter cannot 
address in any detail the dynamics of the Bush administration's postwar deci- 
sion-making, the decision to pursue 1483 would seem consistent with the 
principal conclusions. 

The analysis and conclusions should be considered to be more suggestive 
than definitive given the nature of the evidence that has been made available to 
date. The chapter relies heavily on Bob Woodward's book, Bush at War, and on 
press accounts of political and diplomatic developments during those crucial 
weeks. It is possible that Woodward's account of decision-making within the 
Bush White House is cast in a way to emphasize George W. Bush's leadership 
qualities and stewardship of the war on terrorism because that may be the 
impression that administration figures wanted to convey in the interviews on 
which the book is based. However, it would be highly unusual either for 
cabinet-level figures in Washington to downplay their own roles or for a presi- 
dent to be able to impose such discipline on his inner circle. Either explanation, 
in any case, would seem to confirm that the President is very much in charge of 
policy-making. It is striking, moreover, that no one has come forward to contra- 
dict Woodward's account, which seems consistent with the other evidence cited 

Wrong place, wrong time? 

Before turning to the four factors most widely seen as influential in steering the 
administration in the U.N.'s direction, it would be useful to consider the extent 
to which Washington's and Turtle Bay's agendas vis-a-vis Iraq appeared to 

Bush, Iraq, and the U.M. 137 

overlap or diverge before the President's September 2002 address to the 
General Assembly. If there was a substantial convergence of views, then the 
choice would have been a relatively simple one: Washington could have 
expected a fairly quick and painless endorsement of its conviction that it was 
high time to get tough with Saddam Hussein. But this obviously was not the 
case in terms of the goal of regime change in Baghdad. While this objective had 
been in the forefront of the Bush administration's arguments prior to Septem- 
ber, it had never been accepted by the Security Council or most member states 
as an appropriate target. The U.N., after all, is a sovereignty-conscious inter- 
governmental organization whose decisions are supposed to further and to be 
based on international law. Indeed, for several months after his speech, the 
President appeared to downplay this rationale in favor of the disarmament and 
compliance concerns shared more widely among the U.N. membership. It 
should be recalled in this regard that one of the reasons that President Bush's 
father decided not to pursue Saddam Hussein's retreating forces far into Iraq in 
1991, following Operation Desert Storm, was the lack of Security Council 
authorization for regime change. 

The Bush team in 2002 should have been well aware both of the constraints 
that would come with operating under a U.N. mandate and of how different 
the 1990-1 and 2002 situations were. Most of President Bush's key advisers in 
the 2002 decision — including Vice-President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State 
Colin Powell, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld — had been among 
the chief architects of his father's strategy for dealing with the Iraqi invasion of 
Kuwait a dozen years before. A great deal had changed over those years and 
the two scenarios had little in common other than the same villain, Saddam 
Hussein. President Bush, in fact, has made scant effort to link the two cases of 
Baghdad's intransigence, other than to list the invasion of Kuwait as one of a 
long series of Iraqi transgressions. Perversely, it seems that rousing publics and 
other capitals to react to a pattern of flouting the rules may be considerably 
harder than getting them to respond to a single transgression that is particularly 
egregious. People had tended to get inured to the fact that Baghdad habitually 
ignored Security Council resolutions about its weapons of mass destruction, 
while the media asked: "what is new?" 

Two elements lacking in the 2002 scenario had been essential to rallying a 
broad coalition in 1990-1. First, the disarmament norm was not nearly as well 
established or widely accepted as that forbidding the conquest and absorption 
of a smaller neighboring country. Some member states continue to express 
ambivalence about the former, while the latter remains fundamental to the 
functioning of the nation-state system. The vast majority of member states, of 
course, are relatively small and potentially vulnerable to larger aggressors. In 
1990-1, many of the newer member states were particularly wary of Iraq's 
claim that Kuwait's borders and even identity were artificial. Second, the more 
recent crisis lacked a clear precipitating event. The U.N. arms inspectors had 
been expelled from Iraq almost four years before and there was no internation- 
ally sponsored source of information on current Iraqi weapons developments. 

138 Edward C. Luck 

These factors led to a questioning of British and American intelligence evalua- 
tions of the situation on the ground, as well as of the timing and urgency of the 
need to respond. One of the most frequently posed questions, even in the 
United States, was "why now?" 

Over the course of the 1990s, the mosaic of relationships among the U.N., 
the U.S., and the other member states had evolved in unexpected ways, and 
none of them propitious for building the kind of broad-based coalition that 
Bush had in mind. As the first post-Cold War effort to build such support 
across east-west fines, his father's attempt to pull the Security Council together 
involved considerable political risk, but it also generated a contagious sense of 
excitement and optimism. Talk of a "new world order," however, could not 
long be maintained in the face of a series of peacekeeping debacles over the 
first half of the decade. Rocky relations between Washington and the world 
organization were eased temporarily by the achievement of a package of 
administrative reforms in the late 1 990s and by agreement on a new assessment 
scale with lowered U.S. obligations in 2000, but these episodes left a bitter taste 
among the other member states. They complained about Washington's strong- 
armed tactics, lukewarm support for others' agendas and for the institution 
itself, and a highly selective approach to international organization and multi- 
lateral cooperation. - 

Although many of these frustrations with the U.S. stance in the U.N. had 
accumulated during the two Clinton administrations, they boiled over during 
the first eight months of the Bush administration. The latter's distinct lack of 
enthusiasm for a variety of international norm-building exercises — prominently 
including the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Kyoto Protocol on global 
warming, and a range of arms control and disarmament accords — angered offi- 
cials and alienated public constituencies in those countries historically allied 
most closely with the United States. The administration's blunt style and "us-or- 
them" rhetoric soon squandered much of the empathy generated by the 
September 1 1 terrorist attacks. Striking, in this regard, was that more than 
three-quarters of the respondents to a Pew Research Center survey in the four 
largest countries of Western Europe agreed in April 2002 that President Bush 
"makes decisions based entirely on U.S. interests," duplicating the results of a 
similar poll one month prior to September ll. 3 

It would appear that, in the U.N. and in the court of public opinion at least, 
reputation does matter. The Bus. ion had, by the critical month of 

August 2002, gained a widespread reputation for having a distinct preference 
for acting unilaterally. As this author has argued elsewhere, it has been difficult 
for the current administration to shake this perception even on issues, such as 
building an international counter-terrorist coalition, on which it has worked 
very hard to make multilateral cooperation work. 4 Yet the President neverthe- 
less decided to enter the diplomatic lion's den on the high-priority issue of Iraq 
and did so, appearances suggest, with a good deal of confidence. It is worth 
noting, in that regard, that while his father has gained a reputation as the inter- 
nationalist in the family, the latter stresses in his foreign policy memoirs that he 

Bush, Iraq, and the U.N. 1 39 

would have abandoned the Security Council process at any point that it looked 
like it would not succeed in producing an authorization for Operation Desert 
Storm. 5 He was determined to push the Iraqi forces out of Kuwait, with or 
without the prior approval of the Security Council. 

In August 2002, unlike August 1990, Washington faced three additional 
factors that made the politics of the Security Council decidedly bearish in terms 
of lining up support for a U.S. -led military campaign against Iraq. First, given 
the uneven results of efforts in the 1990s to enforce Security Council resolutions, 
whether by military or economic means, the U.N.'s membership appeared to be 
increasingly uncomfortable with the employment of Chapter VII enforcement 
measures to address any but the most discrete and localized threats to inter- 
national peace and security. Economic sanctions, it was widely believed, tended 
to be both ineffective and cruel, with large-scale humanitarian consequences 
and little effect on critical elites. By the end of the decade, intensive efforts were 
under way to identify more finely tuned and carefully targeted sanctions. 6 If the 
consequences of sanctions were deemed to be bad, the use of military force was 
seen as worse. Ignoring the history of the Charter and its Chapter VII provi- 
sions, the collective use of force was commonly labeled the last resort and an 
admission that the U.N. had failed in its mission of peace. Secretaries-General 
Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Kofi Annan, among others, solemnly declared that 
the U.N. — despite its Charter — no longer was in the business of military 
enforcement. That task must be delegated to ad hoc groupings of willing and 
able member states. The loss of control that accompanied this novel doctrine, of 
course, served to make Council members that much more uncomfortable with 
authorizing acts that could not be monitored and that could easily have unfore- 
seen and unwelcome effects. 

Second, as the end of the Cold War rivalry was followed by the prospect of 
growing U.S. dominance of world affairs, other member states began to demon- 
strate increasing ambivalence toward the expression of American power, 
whether exercised inside or outside of the U.N. The temptation was great to use 
the world body as a means to counterbalance, at least politically, U.S. power 
and to constrain its policy options. In no realm, of course, did the primacy of 
U.S. capacities stand out as decisively as in military affairs, particularly in terms 
of force projection capabilities. Potential coalition partners were bound to be 
concerned that the United States had to carry the brunt of the fighting in 
Desert Storm, Kosovo, and Afghanistan and that its margin of superiority in 
conventional military technology was growing, not shrinking. Surely the politi- 
cal implications that such an asymmetrical arrangement was likely to have for 
postwar Iraq, as well as for the future architecture of the Gulf region and even 
of the Middle East, were obvious to friend and foe alike. While many in the 
U.N. and academic communities were consumed with the question of whether 
the existing decision-making structure in the Security Council could cope with 
such enormous disparities in capacity and power outside of its walls, the Bush 
administration seemed undeterred and proceeded with remarkable confidence 
to seek to enlist junior partners in its diplomatic and military coalitions. 

140 Edward C. Luck 

Third, even a cursory review of the Security Council's track record in dealing 
with Iraq over the course of the 1990s would have underlined the likelihood of 
trouble ahead. There had been persistent and deep divisions on how to address 
Iraqi intransigence, with London and Washington generally on the tougher side 
of the equation and Russia, France, and China taking a much softer line. Differ- 
ences arose over how intrusive the inspections should be, over whether Iraq 
should have any say on the composition of the U.N. monitoring teams, over 
how stringent compliance standards should be, over whether Iraq was making 
sufficient effort to comply, and, repeatedly, over the shape, rigor, and longevity 
of the sanctions regime. 7 France, Russia, and China, for example, abstained 
both on the 1997 resolution (1 134) criticizing Iraqi non-compliance and raising 
the possibility of a travel ban on key Baghdad officials and on the 1999 resolu- 
tion (1284) that set up the current arms monitoring regime, the United Nations 
Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC). Though 
the ferocious debate President Bush triggered in the Council in late 2002 and 
early 2003 was couched in terms of war, peace, and legality and of preserving 
an inspections arrangement that its current defenders had not even voted for, 
the fissures in the Council had much deeper geopolitical roots. 8 These were just 
as visible in August 2002 as they were on the eve of the war, seven months and 
much obfuscation later. Nevertheless, the President, shrugging off the diplomatic 
torpedoes, decided at that point to plunge straight into the U.N.'s icy waters. 

A doveish public? 

Did declining public support for a war on Iraq or increasing public demands for 
getting U.N. authorization for such an action lead President Bush to decide in 
August 2002 to take this question to the General Assembly? While this author 
does not have access to any private polling or focus group activities sponsored 
by the Republican Party or other groups close to the White House, there is little 
evidence of either of these trends in national opinion surveys. In fact, the polls 
suggest that public support for military action in Iraq had been remarkably con- 
sistent in the months leading up to the President's decision. 

Among the dozens of organizations conducting and publishing surveys on 
attitudes toward conflict with Iraq, the following three are most useful for track- 
ing purposes since they repeated the same questions at intervals over 2002-3. 
ABC News obtained the following margins in favor when asking "would you 
favor or oppose having U.S. forces take military action against Iraq to force 
Saddam Hussein from power?": 9 

January 2002 71 to 24 

March 2002 72 to 24 

August 2002 63 to 28 

September 2002 65 to 32 

November 2002 64 to 29 

December 2002 61 to 35 

Bush, Iraq, and the U.N. 141 

January 2003 63 to 34 

February 2003 67 to 30 

CBS News and the New York Times received the following favorable responses 
when querying "do you approve or disapprove of the United States taking mili- 
tary action against Iraq to try to remove Saddam Hussein from power?": 10 

February 2002 

74 to 18 

June 2002 

70 to 20 

July 2002 

73 to 21 

August 2002 

66 to 26 

September 2002 

68 to 26 

October 2002 

66 to 26 

November 2002 

70 to 23 

January 2003 

64 to 30 

February 2003 

68 to 25 

The story looks much the same for the Princeton survey /Newsweek polls, which 
asked, "in the light against terrorism, the Bush Administration has talked about 
using military force against Saddam Hussein and his military in Iraq. Would 
you support using military force against Iraq, or not?" 11 The favorable responses 

April 2002 

68 to 24 

August 2002 

62 to 31 

September 2002 

63 to 29 

October 2002 

65 to 28 

January 2003 

62 to 33 

February 2003 

70 to 25 

For our analysis, several conclusions can be drawn from these three sets of 
surveys: by a fairly steady 2-to-l margin, for the year prior to the war the public 
expressed support for U.S. military action in Iraq; these results neither sagged 
markedly before the President decided to go to the UN., nor rose after he 
addressed the General Assembly or after the unanimous Security Council Reso- 
lution 1441 in early November. And the rationale for using U.S. force in these 
questions was regime change in Baghdad, not disarmament or complying with 
UN. resolutions. 12 

While these surveys did not factor in the prospect of allied participation or 
U.N. authorization, traditionally the public has been markedly more comfort- 
able with such international support for the use of force than without it. This 
has been particularly true for women, minorities, and Democrats — that is, for 
those constituencies least likely to vote for a Republican president in any case. 13 
A February 2003 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People 
and the Press and the Council on Foreign Relations concluded that: 

142 Edward C. Luck 

Americans continue to express the need for securing international backing 
for military action against Iraq, but they appear to make a distinction 
between formal authorization for force by the United Nations and support 
from U.S. allies. The former is seen as desirable, while the latter is viewed 
as essential. 

A majority of those favoring the attempt to secure a U.N. resolution, they con- 
tinued, "are willing to use force even if such a veto occurs." 14 

What is most striking, however, is the extent to which public support for 
going to the U.N. on Iraq seems to have been latent in the months leading to 
the President's decision. A search of the voluminous records of the Public 
Opinion Online service of the Roper Center at the University of Connecticut 
uncovered only two questions on getting U.N. support for an attack on Iraq 
over the first eight months of 2002. 15 So if President Bush was moved by poll 
results, it must have been by private ones that have not yet been made public. 
Ironically, it appears to have been his decision to go to the U.N. that spurred 
heavy polling on America's preferences for multilateral backing, not the other 
way around. In marked contrast to the period prior to the General Assembly 
speech, the issue of gaining U.N. support became the centerpiece of polling 
questions, as well as of much of the public debate, after his September 12 
address. In November, after the Council agreed on Resolution 1441, Secretary 
Powell did acknowledge, in response to a question on Face the Nation about the 
public's readiness to go to war, the foil 

The polls last week were very instructive on this question. If you had U.N. 
support for it, if it was the international community speaking, then the 
American people are solidly in support of such action. If it was just us 
acting unilaterally, then the support dropped considerably. And I hope that 
with the vote on Friday, this made it clear to the people of the world and to 
the people of the United States that we are not alone in this. 16 

At this point, however, there is no public evidence that he used those public- 
opinion arguments in his efforts in August to convince the President to take 
the U.N. route. Bob Woodward's detailed and apparently authoritative account 
of the deliberations of the Bush team vis-a-vis terrorism and Iraq does not 
mention these as among Powell's points, which focused instead on international 
implications. 17 

At the same time, the decision to focus on Iraq in the General Assembly 
speech apparendy compelled the administration to develop a fuller, more coher- 
ent, and more widely persuasive rationale for using force against Iraq. 
According to the Pew Center, the President's "well-received speeches at the 
United Nations and for the commemoration of the 9/1 1 anniversary" helped to 
convince the public that he had a strong case for employing force. In late 
August Pew found, by a 52 to 37 percent margin, that respondents believed that 
Bush had not "explained the reasons clearly enough." By mid-September, 

Bush, Iraq, and the U.N. 143 

however, by the same 52 to 37 percent edge (a 30 percent swing), they affirmed 
that he had made a sufficiently clear case. 18 By going to the U.N., in other 
words, it appears as if the President bolstered the credibility of his argument, 
but he also seems to have reinforced the notion that multilateral approval was 
important for moving ahead and therefore that compliance and disarmament, 
not regime change, would become his key objective. By deciding to seek broad 
multilateral cooperation, in part through the U.N., for his post-September 11 
counter-terrorism campaign and for the efforts to disarm Saddam Hussein, 
George W. Bush apparently encouraged Republicans, at least temporarily, to 
become more internationalist and mulfilateralist. According to the Pew Center, 
the shift in public attitudes in that direction between September 2001 and 
December 2002 had been largely on the Republican side, as the go-it-alone ten- 
dencies among Republicans had ebbed under the global war on terrorism. 19 
Subsequently, however, the Security Council's bitter divisions over the use of 
force in Iraq during the early months of 2003 soured American public support 
for the United Nations. 20 

A controlling Congress? 

Members of Congress, like the public, generally prefer to have allies at our side 
and U.N. authorization for the use of force at our back. Again, this predilection 
is strongest among Democrats. In 1990-1, President George H.W. Bush there- 
fore worked first to get the Security Council on board and then used this 
international support to help build Congressional backing for the use of force. 
But partly because of this experience, the equation was largely reversed in 2002. 
In 1990-1 Democrats controlled both Houses of Congress, and the House and 
Senate leadership adamantly opposed legislation authorizing the President to 
undertake hostilities in the Persian Gulf. Those Democratic legislators sympa- 
thizing with the President's position needed the political cover of allied and 
Security Council support to justify their stance before doveish, hard-core Demo- 
cratic voters. In 2002, on the other hand, the Republicans enjoyed a majority in 
the House and were just one seat shy in the Senate. A number of senior Democ- 
rats, including some with presidential ambitions, regretted having voted against 
what turned out to have been a popular war in 1991 and vowed not to repeat 
the error. 21 The terrorist attacks of September 2001 served to reinforce that 

This time, the Democratic leaders in the House and Senate rallied to the 
President's side. When the House voted on October 10 on a bill giving the Pres- 
ident broad authority to act, the Democrats split 81 in favor to 126 opposed (far 
better than the 86 to 179 Democratic vote in January 1991 with the Security 
Council's authorizing resolution in hand). The more lopsided vote the following 
day in the Senate included a majority of Democrats, 29 to 21, in favor. 22 Some 
Democratic legislators have since come to regret that they failed to offer a more 
viable and stubborn alternative to the President's initiative, for in fact their resis- 
tance to the war resolution of 2002 was feeble compared to their opposition in 

144 Edward C. Luck 

1991. Congressional and international altitudes, in fact, were out of sync in 
both cases: Congress was cool when other countries were warm, and vice versa. 

There is little doubt that the strong majorities for the October 2002 legisla- 
tion were facilitated by the content and timing of the President's speech to the 
General Assembly in the previous month. Framing the issue as one of boosting 
the credibility of the Security Council and of the non-proliferation regime had 
great appeal for what became known as "liberal hawks." Among Senate 
Democrats voting for the measure, the value of demonstrating bipartisanship in 
facing the twin challenges of taming Saddam Hussein and of building an inter- 
national coalition was frequently voiced. According to the Senate Majority 
Leader, Tom Daschle of South Dakota, "it is important for America to speak 
with one voice at this critical moment." Hillary Rodham Clinton, the junior 
Senator from New York, argued that such bipartisan support would make the 
chances of success at the U.N. "more likely and, therefore, war less likely." 23 In 
this round, unlike the first, unity at home was to be used as a card in seeking 
unity abroad. 

To conclude that the choice of taking the U.N. route would be helpful on the 
Hill, however, does not necessarily suggest that pressures from Congress 
prompted the President's decision. In fact, it appears that Congressional Demo- 
crats were anything but eager to draw attention to the simmering Iraq crisis in 
the months leading up to the November mid-term elections. They much pre- 
ferred to turn the public's attention to domestic economic and social issues, 
which, they believed, played to their advantages and the President's liabilities. 
As Jim Jordan, director of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, put it: 
"it's absolutely clear that the administration has timed the Iraq public relations 
campaign to influence the midterm elections . . . and to distance the voting 
public from a failing economy and an unpopular Republican domestic 
agenda." 24 Indeed, Bush found that challenging the U.N. to enforce its resolu- 
tions or risk fading into irrelevance was well received on the campaign trail. In 
the weeks before that electoral victory, the President campaigned hard, fre- 
quently asserting that the world body has a choice: "you can show the world 
whether you've got the backbone necessary to enforce your edicts or whether 
you're going to turn out to be just like the League of Nations." 2 ' 1 

Once he had seized the make-the-U.N-work theme and made it his own, 
Democratic strategists started asking why they had not taken the initiative in 
pushing a U.N. -based strategy for dealing with Iraq — an approach that should 
have been natural. As Heather Hurlburt, a former speechwriter for President 
Clinton, complained: "Democrats didn't lead Bush to that position. They were 
instead dragged to it, and looked weak and craven as a result." 26 While she, 
E.J. Dionne Jr. and others have been seeking answers to the Democratic Party's 
perennial weakness on issues of peace and security, 27 former Permanent Repre- 
sentative to the UN. Richard C. Holbrooke was one of the few party leaders to 
call on President Bush to take the Iraq issue to the world body during those 
pivotal weeks. 28 So neither Congress nor the loyal opposition can claim much 
credit for turning the ship of state in this case. 

Bush. Iraq, and the U.N. 145 

Persuasive allies? 

It has been widely speculated th, ler Tony Blair, and to a 

lesser extent other foreign leaders, convinced a reluctant President George 
W. Bush to take the U.N. route. Undoubtedly Blair favored this option for both 
strategic and domestic political reasons. In a late summer 2002 British survey 
by ICM Research, 7 1 percent of the respondents opposed U.K. "involvement 
in an invasion of Iraq" and 38 percent agreed that the Prime Minister "is Bush's 
poodle." 29 Given the latter caricature, Blair's supporters have been at pains to 
stress the extent to which he has influenced Bush, rather than vice versa. Given 
the similarity in their positions, as well as the frequency of their off-the-record 
conversations, it is not possible to make a definitive judgment about who was 
influencing whom at any given point. But there is no reason to assume that this 
was a one-way street. 

At the same time, it was in London's strategic interest to articulate a position 
that allowed it both to maintain its special relationship with Washington and to 
retain its utility as a bridge between the U.S. and its continental allies. On han- 
dling Saddam Hussein, the U.K. had long identified more closely with the 
tougher U.S. stance, even while stressing the need for a united, multilateral 
front in dealing with the dictator. Over the summer of 2002 it was becoming 
increasingly difficult for Blair to reconcile all of these competing pressures, espe- 
•gan to sound increasingly continental in its doubts 
about President Bush's leadership qualities and world view. This reconciliation 
would be aided, of course, if Bush decided to take his case to the U.N. 

However, as with public opinion and Congress, the fact that the President 
decided to move in the direction that Tony Blair favored did not necessarily 
mean that the latter's voice was decisive. Two other possibilities should also be 
considered: that Blair and Bush shared similar and quite deeply held convic- 
tions; and that the President's hard line on Baghdad tended to pull the Prime 
Minister in the direction of war even as the latter reinforced the former's will- 
ingness to give the Security Council the chance to support coercion. As 
practical politicians with a shared objective, it would be reasonable to assume 
that both saw the potential benefits of building a broad coalition on Iraq, in 
part through the U.N., just as they had done on counter-terrorism the previous 
year. If that could be done without significantly watering down their insistence 
on compelling Iraqi disarmament, why not give the U.N. option a chance? 

One of the shortcomings of the "Blair-did-it" thesis is liming. When during 
the critical weeks in August, as Bush and his chief advisers were struggling to 
and then arriving at the decision to make Iraq the centerpiece of the President's 
upcoming General Assembly speech, did the Prime Minister make his decisive 
intervention? In a telephone conversation in the last week of August, Blair 
reportedly urged President Bush to "re-engage" with the United Nations. 30 
Then, on September 7, they met for more than four hours of talks at Camp 
David. Press accounts in both countries described the summit as an effort to 
develop a coordinated strategy for dealing with Iraq and to build international 

146 Edward C. Luck 

support for their position.' 51 According to Bob Woodward, "Tony Blair told 
Bush privately that he had to go the U.N. -resolution route. David Manning, the 
British national security adviser, told [Gondoleezza] Rice the same." 32 It 
appears, however, that they were largely pushing on an open door. The "princi- 
pals" on the Bush team had agreed on August 14 that the President's speech 
should be on Iraq and on what needed to be done to enforce the relevant 
Council resolutions, and the President signed off on this two days later. 33 As a 
senior Downing Street official later told the Financial Times, "by the time we got 
there, Mr. Bush was predisposed to go the U.N. route." 34 

There is some evidence, as well, that Bush had at least as much influence on 
Blair as the latter did on him. 35 A few days before heading for Camp David, the 
British Prime Minister appeared to endorse the President's call for regime 
change in Baghdad, telling a press conference that "either the regime starts to 
function in a completely different way — and there's not much sign of that — or 
the regime has to change." He went on to insist that, while the UN. had to be 
"a way of dealing with it, not a way of avoiding dealing with it," if the world 
body could not agree, then action to deal with Iraq should go ahead anyway. 36 
On the trip to Camp David, Blair intimated to reporters that inspections might 
not be the most effective way to disarm Saddam Hussein and that a further res- 
olution authorizing the use of force might not be needed. 37 On his return, he 
articulated several of these themes in a speech to the decidedly doveish Trades 
Union Congress in Blackpool. 38 Following the talks at Camp David, the Prime 
Minister began to sound positively Bushian in his passion for dealing forcefully 
with Saddam Hussein. 

Tony Blair, of course, was hardly the only international leader both to have 
strong views on Iraq and the U.N. and to be in contact with the President 
during these critical weeks. Indeed, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany 
and President Jacques Chirac of France called for a cohesive European front 
against unilateral U.S. military action against Baghdad at that point. 39 Similar 
calls for using the U.N. and shunning unilateral action continued to be heard 
from Moscow and Beijing as well. The three permanent members that had 
taken a soft stance all along toward Baghdad, in other words, were underlining 
their continued doubts about the use of force and their insistence that any 
action be authorized by the Security Council. Given the President's views and 
goals on Iraq, however, one would surmise that the likely effect of their appeals 
would have been to reinforce whatever trepidations he might have had about 
going to the U.N. to fulfill his objectives. Unless they were giving the President 
a more nuanced and encouraging message privately, it would have seemed that 
the louder their public demands about the centrality of the U.N., the riskier and 
more inhospitable it would have appeared as a place to pursue his policies. 

The intrepid General Powell? 

If any individual were to be credited with coaxing George W. Bush to embrace 
the U.N. option, it would have to be Secretary of State Colin Powell. It is no 

Bush, Iraq, and the U.N. 147 

secret that the President's team was deeply divided in the summer of 2002 over 
tactical questions on how to hand I her to pursue their dual 

Iraq agenda of disarmament and regime change through the United Nations. 
These debates generally pitted Powell against the more unilateralist Vice- 
President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. All agreed on the 
ultimate objectives, but the latter two, along with Rumsfeld's deputy, Paul Wol- 
fowitz, had embraced this cause with greater passion and much earlier, well 
before the 2000 election. 40 According to the Washington Post, "people close to 
Powell suggest that he understood that Iraq would be an issue when he agreed 
to become Secretary of State, and so he had reconciled himself to supporting a 
policy of toppling Saddam Hussein even before he took office." 41 Powell's 
deputy and close friend, Richard Armitage, suggested to an Australian journal- 
ist over the summer that if he and Powell appeared to be "the two relative 
doves," it may be because they "are the two that have seen combat." 42 It was 
widely noted in the press over the summer of 2002 that the Secretary of State 
had little to say publicly about Iraq, while the more unilateralist and hawkish 
figures in the President's inner circle made a vivid public case for military action 
to topple Saddam Hussein. 43 

Unlike Cheney and Rumsfeld, Powell did not have a strong pedigree as a 
partisan Republican politician and was not thought to have as close and easy a 
personal relationship with the President as the other two. Some prominent con- 
servative commentators, such as William Kristol, openly questioned whether 
Powell shared the President's agenda sufficiently and suggested that it would be 
no great loss for him to resign. 44 A year earlier, Kristol had noted, "Eleven 
years ago, then-President Bush overrode Powell's resistance to fighting Saddam. 
Bush was vindicated in doing so. Will the current President Bush follow Powell's 
lead? Or will Bush lead and demand that Powell follow?" 4 ' Less is known about 
the personal preferences of national security adviser Condoleezza Rice in these 
internal debates, though she appears to have sought to ensure that the President 
heard the range of views represented in his administration. Yet she did speak 
out strongly for the regime-change agenda at points that summer, reflecting 
something she had publicly advocated prior to the election. 46 

According to Bob Woodward's account, Powell realized over the course of 
the summer that he needed more private time with Bush to present an alterna- 
tive view to that which he had been hearing from Cheney and Rumsfeld 
regularly. On August 5, the President agreed to what turned into a two-hour 
meeting, partly over dinner, with Powell and Rice. This was the Secretary of 
State's first opportunity to lay out in detail the arrangements for building as 
broad a coalition as possible for any military action in Iraq. He reportedly con- 
tended that "the U.N. was only one way. But some way had to be found to 
recruit allies." 47 On August 14, at a principals' meeting without the President, 
Powell suggested that Bush make Iraq the focus of his upcoming General 
Assembly speech. Rice and Cheney agreed, although the group discussed how 
to avoid endless debate, compromise, and delay "once they started down the 
U.N. road — words not action." Cheney reportedly urged that a failure of the 

148 Edward C. Luck 

U.N. to enforce its resolutions should be made the central theme, and Rice 
agreed. 48 

Two days later, Woodward reports, this notion was put before the President, 
with the support of all of the principals, including Cheney and Rumsfeld. Bush 
readily agreed, cautioning that the speech "couldn't be too shrill ... or put too 
high a standard so that it was obvious to all that they weren't serious. He 
wanted to give the U.N. a chance." 49 Starting on the UN. route, apparently, 
was not so controversial within the administration, but the implications of the 
choice certainly did prove to be. On August 26, ten days after the President 
signed off on making the UN. speech, Vice-President Cheney gave a very 
tough speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Nashville, denigrating the 
value of sending UN. weapons inspectors back to Iraq. 50 The BBC followed 
with the release of excerpts from an earlier interview in which Powell had said 
that Bush favored the return of inspectors as a "first step" toward dealing with 
the Iraqi threat.' 1 Amid press charges of disarray, the Secretary of State met 
with the President on September 2 to receive his assurance that indeed it was 
his policy to try to send the inspectors back, even "though he was skeptical that 
it would work." The President also confirmed that going to the U.N. to ask for 
support on Iraq "meant asking for a new resolution." 52 Even as Powell was 
meeting with Bush, press reports began to appear that administration sources 
had let it be known that the White House had not cleared key points of 
Cheney's speech. 53 

Though the policy had been set, the debate at the principals' level got more 
pointed, again according to Bob Woodward. At two more meetings in the ten 
days before the President's speech — neither of which he attended — Powell and 
Cheney, the latter sometimes supported by Rumsfeld, fought about whether 
Bush should call for a new U.N. resolution. The phrasing calling for that step 
moved in and out of subsequent drafts of the speech as the battle raged. Finally, 
the night before his appearance in the General Assembly Hall, Bush informed 
Powell and Rice that "he had decided he was going to ask for new resolutions." 
Somehow the version of the speech fed into the U.N.'s teleprompter omitted 
that line, so the President improvised, adding that "we will work with the U.N. 
Security Council for the necessary resolutions." 54 

This round of the bureaucratic battle indeed could be said to have been won 
by the former general. Even Vice-President Cheney "struck a newly measured 
tone" on Iraq. 5,9 Two months later, when the Security Council unanimously 
passed Resolution 1441, Powell's triumph seemed to be confirmed. As Senator 
Chuck Hagel, the moderate Nebraskan Republican, put it, the UN. action was 
"a significant win for Powell" because "he was able to redirect the administra- 
tion's efforts into a responsible, international channel. "~ >b Yet, it could be 
asked — as the concluding section of this chapter does — whether there is con- 
vincing evidence that Secretary Powell actually had to persuade the President to 
take this course. As James Mann cogently argues, "it is hard to find daylight 
between the words of Powell and those of Bush." Liberals are wrong to think 
that Powell is their in-house advocate and conservatives are wrong to think that 

Bush, Iraq, and the U.N. 149 

he is out of step with the President. 5 ' As a good soldier, he serves his President 
well. So, who had to influence whom? Could Powell's role in this affair be 
better seen as that of a facilitator, as one who first helped Bush's predilections 
prevail in the intra-Beltway debates and then presented them to the nation and 
the world with a more credible and more widely respected voice than the Presi- 
dent's more hawkish aides could manage? 

The President himself? 

Though the evidence remains fragmentary, this account suggests that George 
W. Bush just might be his own foreign policy boss. As was often said during the 
election campaign, he is someone who is easily and perpetually underestimated. 
He prides himself on his capacity for judging and managing the people who 
work for him. His graduate training was in business administration, not politics 
or foreign policy. Clearly he does not know a great deal about the latter and has 
made serious errors along the way, particularly in failing to understand the 
interconnections among various international issues and how the reputation his 
administration has acquired on some could make it more difficult to get his way 
on others. His inner confidence not only has a way of coming off as arrogance, 
but it may well also cloud his judgment, causing him to underestimate oppo- 
sition to his policies and the complications of implementing them on the 
ground, including in the complexities of postwar Iraq. 

At the same time, his shortcom; ig an international coalition for 

the war effort do not mean that he has been equally inept at using the members 
of his team effectively or at knowing what he wants. Whether what he wants — 
to reconstruct Iraqi society and refashion the politics of the Middle East — is 
achievable, and at what cost, remains to be seen. But there is no doubt that he 
has shown real determination to get the job done and that he has consistently 
preferred to do this with partners, whenever possible with the U.N.'s blessing. 
Following the war, Bush displayed considerable skill and flexibility in negotiating 
the relative roles of the U.N. and the wartime coalition in Iraq's reconstruction. 
The Security Council passed Resolution 1483, which laid these out in some 
detail, without a negative vote or abstention. 58 While it would be stretching the 
evidence to call the President a closet internationalist, the common view that 
Secretary Powell is the only voice for international cooperation in the adminis- 
tration appears far too simplistic. 

There is little indication that President Bush s\ mpalhizes with the more uni- 
lateralist instincts of the Cheney-Rumsfeld- Wolfowitz faction. He opposed their 
contention that the U.S. should strike Iraq, as well as Al Qaeda and the Taliban 
in Afghanistan, following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. 59 If Bob 
Woodward's reconstruction is reasonably accurate, then it seems that those 
opposed in August 2002 to renewed U.N. inspections or the effort to craft a 
new Security Council resolution would only press their case at principals' meet- 
ings not attended by Bush. When the President was there, the differences on 
these questions among his chief aides seemed to be much more muted. It is also 

150 Edward C. Luck 

hard to imagine that the President would not have been consulted before the 
word was put out that the Vice-President's hard-line speech had not been 
cleared beforehand by the White House. Likewise, as persuasive as Powell can 
be, it seems unlikely that he could have overcome the determined opposition of 
Cheney and Rumsfeld, who were personally closer to Bush, and then top it off 
by convincing a reluctant president to go to the world organization. 

If one does not assume that George W. Bush was little more than the object 
of others' persuasive powers, then a much more complex and subtle picture 
begins to emerge. For the President, Iraq represented a problem in political 
management as much as a foreign policy challenge. For important neo- 
conservative constituencies, which cut across both parties but are particularly 
prominent in the Republican ranks, Iraq represented something of a litmus test 
for assessing the gravity of a president's national security policies. Not only was 
it unfinished business from the first Bush presidency, it also had been regularly 
cited by Republican commentators as an example of the fecklessness of the 
Clinton administration, the U.N., and weak-kneed allies. For an inexperienced 
President Bush, it carried connotations not unlike those that Cuba posed in 
1 96 1 for President Kennedy. 

After September 1 1, the real, potential, and projected links between Saddam 
Hussein, weapons of mass destruction, and terrorism added a powerful new 
dimension to the earlier symbolism, one that could attract a much broader 
domestic and international constituency. In other words, Bush had ample polit- 
ical reasons for not wanting to challenge Cheney and Rumsfeld directly on 
these matters, especially given how their constituencies tended to view the 
United Nations. Besides, there is no reason to assume that their differences 
extended beyond tactical questions, since they appeared to see eye to eye on the 
core objectives. Allowing the neo-conservatives' ire to be directed at Powell 
instead was most convenient. Again, it seems more than coincidental that the 
President did not attend those intra-administration sessions that were most 
stormy on these questions. 

George W. Bush needed Colin Powell to carry a lot of political water on 
Iraq. The latter's well-established reputation for political independence made 
him an excellent messenger to a range of groups, at home and abroad, whose 
support would be essential to a successful campaign to overthrow Saddam 
Hussein, destroy his weapons of mass destruction, and restructure the Middle 
East, no less. As word would spread of Powell's valiant efforts to overcome the 
parochialism of the Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz clique, his credentials for 
being a credible voice for the President's policies would be enhanced not only in 
Congress but also among moderates, Democrats, independents, the media, and, 
of course, potential coalition partners abroad. Powell presumably would be 
more committed to these advocacy roles once Bush allowed himself to be "per- 
suaded" by Powell's arguments and then stood up for the Secretary of State in 
his intra-administration struggles. Much the same scenario might be conjec- 
tured for the Blair— Bush relationship as well. 

If this intra-Beltway babble sounds too Machiavellian, to this observer it 

Bush, Iraq, and the U.N. 1 5 1 

appears innocent compared to all of the cynical posing that passed for public 
diplomacy by the members of the Security Council in early 2003 prior to the 
commencement of the war in March. Though his critics like to caricature 
George W. Bush as something of a clumsy and dimwitted country bumpkin, he 
managed to frame the Iraq debate in the Security Council in quite clever and 
compelling terms. Not unlike the littie boy and the emperor, he did not hesitate 
to shout out that the Council, at least on Iraq, had no more clothes to hide 
behind. On that, he was on target. During the Security Council's debates in 
early 2003, moreover, most of the other members did their best to prove him 
right. His warning that the U.N. was in danger of morphing back into the 
League of Nations was, of course, in part a commentary on the fact, noted 
earlier, that most member states are distinctly uncomfortable with those 
enforcement provisions of Chapter VII that were to have differentiated the 
UN. from its defunct predecessor. Judging by their comments during the 
prewar debate, most member states would indeed prefer a weak League without 
U.S. dominance to a strong UN. that would necessarily have to depend on 
U.S. assets for military enforcement in the tough discs. 

On balance, President Bush probably was a net winner by taking his case to 
the U.N., despite his failure to obtain the Security Council's explicit authoriza- 
tion for the use of force in Iraq. Anti- American sentiments would probably have 
been higher if he had decided to use force without at least trying to test the 
waters at the world organization. If his ambitious postwar agenda goes well, 
then his gamble will look both prescient and courageous. Surely the decision to 
invade Iraq and to try to nurture the development of a more representative gov- 
ernment there — with or without the world organization's support — represents 
the riskiest and highest-stakes venture of post-Cold War U.S. foreign policy so 
far. But, for this President and th.i ion, there were never any doubts, 

or internal debates, about what needed to be done. The role of the United 
Nations was only to be instrumental, as the preferred route to a predetermined 
destination. For the manager- President, the question of UN. involvement has 
been a tactical and not a strategic matter, one about options and not fundamen- 
tal principles. Of that, he needed no convincing. 


1 How the President came to acquire his beliefs and perspectives on foreign affairs and 
who influenced his thinking along the way is a matter to be addressed by his biogra- 
phers and is quite beyond the scope of this chapter. 

2 Expressions of some of these concerns can be found in David M. Malone and Yuen 
Foong Khong, eds., Unilateralism anil U.S. Foreign Policy: International Perspectives 
(Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2003). 

3 "Americans and Europeans Differ Widely on Foreign Policy Issues; Bush's Ratings 
Improve But He's Still Seen as Unilateralist," Pew Research Center multinational 
survey conducted with the International Herald Tribune and in association with the 
Council on Foreign Relations, April 20, 2002, 
print. php3?RcportID= 153; "Bush Unpopular in Europe, Seen as Unilateralist," 

152 Edward C. Luck 

same sponsors, August 15, 2001, plipli.'Repon 
ID=5; and Adam Clymer, "Surveys Find European Public Critical of Bush Politics," 
New York Times, August 16, 2001, p. A12. 

4 Edward C. Luck, "The United States, counter-terrorism, and the prospects for a 
multilateral alternative," in Jane Boulden and Thomas G. Weiss, eds.. Terrorism anil 
the U.N: Before and After September 11 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004, 

5 George Bush and Brent Scowcroft, A World Transformed (New York: Knopf, 1998), 
p. 356. 

6 See, for example, David Cortright and George A. Lopez, Sanctions and the Search for 
Security: Challenges to U..N. Action blishers, 2002). 

7 An unusually candid and personal account of how these fissures appeared to the last 
head of the United Nations Special Commission, the pre-1999 inspections regime, 
can be found in Richard Butler, The Greatest Threat: Iraq, Weapons of Mass Destruction, 
and the Growing Crisis of Global Security (New York: Public Affairs, 2000). See also Jean 
Krasno and James Sutterlin, The United Nations and Iraq: Defanging the Viper (Westport, 
CT and London: Praeger, 2003). 

8 See Edward C. Luck, "Making the World Safe for Hypocrisy," New York Times, 
March 22, 2003 and Michael J. Glennon, "Why the Security Council Failed," 
Foreign Affairs 82, no. 3 (May-June 2003), pp. 16-35. For three responses to 
Glennon's article, by Edward C. Luck, Anne-Marie Slaughter, and Ian Hurd respec- 
tively, see Foreign Affairs 82, no. 4 July-August 2003), pp. 201-5. 

9 The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research available through LexisNexis Aca- 
demic. Beginning with December 2002, the respondents were given the choice of 
"strongly" or "somewhat" opposing or favoring the proposition, so these numbers 
aggregate the split results. In those months when the same question was asked in 
more than one survey by the same pollster, the numbers presented on this page and 
the next are an average of the multiple results for the month. 

10 Ibid. 

11 Ibid. 

12 Gallup and Pew surveys found similar results over that period. See Pew Research 
Center for the People and the Press, Survey Reports, "Public More Internationalist 
than in the 1990s," December 12, 2002, 
print.php3?ReportID= 1 66. 

13 More recent polls on Iraq confirmed this tendency. See "Reading the Polls on Iraq," 
New York Times, February 23, 2003, p. 5; Richard Morin and Claudia Deane, 
"Doubts Temper Support; Gender, Age and Politics Fuel Gaps in Opinion on 
Attacking Iraq," Washington Post, March 4, 2003, p. A17; and Pew Research Center 
and Council on Foreign Relations, "Post-Blix: Public Favors Force in Iraq, But U.S. 
Needs More International Backing," February 20, 2003. 

14 Pew Research Center, "Post-Blix," p. 4. 

15 These included a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics survey in February and one by the 
Chicago Council on Foreign Relations/German Marshall Fund in June. Both 
showed the traditional preference for U.N. support. 

16 CBS Face the Nation, November 10, 2002. 

17 Bob Woodward, Bush at War (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2002), pp. 332-6. 

18 Pew Center, Survey Reports, "Support for Potential Military Actions Slips to 55%," 
October 30, 2002, p. 2, 

19 Pew Research Center, "Public More Internationalist," p. 4. 

20 In a March 17, 2003 ABC ^vm/ Washington Post survey— two days before the 
bombing campaign was launched — 75 percent of respondents disapproved "of the 
way the United Nations is handling the situation with Iraq and Saddam Hussein." 
The possibility of significant spillover effects was suggested by a Gallup poll taken a 
few days earlier. When the question was asked whether the UN. "is doing a good 

Bush, Iraq, and the U.N. 153 

job or poor job in trying to solve the problems it has had to fate," the "poor" 
responses outnumbered the "good" ones 58 to 37. 

2 1 Dan Balz and Jim vande Hei, "Democratic Hopefuls Back Bush on Iraq; Gephardt, 
Lieberman, Edwards Support Launching Preemptive Strike," Washington Post, Sep- 
tember 14, 2002, p. A04. 

22 Alison Mitchell and Carl Hulse, "Threats and Responses: The Vote; Congress 
Authorizes Bush to Use Force Against Iraq, Creating a Broad Mandate," New York 
Times, October 11, 2002, p. Al. 

23 Ibid. 

21 Dana Milbank, "Democrats Question Iraq Timing; Talk of War Distracts from Elec- 
tion Issues," Washington Post. September 16, 2002, p. A01. 

25 White House Press Release, "Excerpts from November 3, 2002 Presidential 
Remarks in South Dakota." http://\v\\ 1/ 

26 Heather Hurlburt, "War Torn: Why Democrats Can't Think Straight About 
National Security," Washington Monthly, November 2002, pp. 29-30. 

27 E.J. Dionne Jr., "The Herky-Jerky Approach," Washington Post, November 15, 2002, 

28 Richard C. Holbrooke, "Take It to the Security Council," Washington Post, 
August 27, 2002, p. A15. 

29 Glenn Frankel, "Blair Assails Hussein, Backs Bush on Iraq; Pro-U.S. Stance Taken 
Despite Criticism at Home," Washington Post, September 4, 2002, p. A16. An early 
August survey published by London's Daily Telegraph found 28 percent calling a U.S. 
attack on Iraq justified and 58 percent unjustified. Dana Milbank, "White House 
Push for Iraqi Strike Is on Hold; Wailing lo Make Case for Action Allows Invasion 
Opponents to Dominate Debate," Washington Post, August 18, 2002, p. A18. An 
earlier Channel 4 poll found a somewhat narrower margin, 52 to 34 percent, saying 
thai British troops should not join a U.S. war with Iraq. Glenn Frankel. "Britons 
Grow Uneasy Al mm War in Iraq," Washington Post, August 7, 2002, p. A14. 

30 Graeme Wilson and Michael Clarke, "Bush and Blair Set for Council of War," Daily 
Mail (London), September 2, 2002. 

31 See, for example, Patrick Wintom, "Threat of War; Camp David; Blair Will Urge 
Bush to Win U.N. Backing for Action; PM Argues Resolution Will Sway Doubters," 
The Guardian (London), September 5, 2002, p. 5; David Cracknell and Nicholas 
Rufford, "Blair and Bush Warn of Iraq Threat to UK." Sunday Tinn \ London:, Sep- 
tember 8, 2002. 

32 Woodward, Bush at War, p. 347. 

33 Ibid., pp. 335-6. 

34 "War in Iraq; How the Die Was Cast Before Transatlantic Diplomacy Failed; The 
Divided World; Part One," Financial Times, May 27, 2003. 

35 David E. Sanger, "Blair, Meeting with Bush, Fully Endorses U.S. Plans for Ending 
Iraqi Threat," New York Times, September 8, 2002, p. 23. 

36 Paul Waugh, "Blair: It Is Our Duty to Support US over Iraq," The Independent 
(London), September 4, 2002. 

37 Jon Smith and John Deane, "Saddam Has to be Tackled One Way or Another — 
Tony Blair." Similar Tribune, September 8, 2002. 

38 Prime Minister's Speech to TUC Conference in Blackpool, September 10, 2002, 
Archive of the Prime Minister's Speeches, 
asp. Also see Tom Baldwin, "Blair Answers the Critics of War Against Iraq," Tie 
Times (London), September 11, 2002,„3463- 

39 David Cracknell and Nicholas Rufford, "Blair and Bush Warn of Iraq Threat to 
UK," Sunday Times (London), September 8, 2002. 

10 Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz. and a number of other top Bush administration figures were 

154 Edward C. Luck 

associated with the Project for the New American Century's decidedly hawkish posi- 
tions on Iraq. See, for example, letters from the Project to President Clinton and to 
Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott in 1998, 
clintonlctter.htm and Also 
see Paul Wolfowitz, "Rebuilding the Anti-Saddam Coalition," Wall Street Journal, 
November 18, 1997. 

41 Glenn Kessler, "On Iraq, Powell is Front and Center; U.S. Moves Reflect His Belief 
in Getting International Support," Washington Post, September 12, 2002. 

42 Ibid. 

43 See, for example, James Dao, "Powell Charts Low-Key Path in Iraq Debate," Mew 
York Times, September 2, 2002, p. Al; and Glenn Kessler, "Powell Treads Carefully 
on Iraq Strategy; Weapons Inspections Urged Before Action." Washington Post, Sep- 
tember 2, 2002, p. A01. 

44 William Kristol, "The Axis of Appeasement," Weekly Standard, August 26-Septem- 
ber 2, 2002. 

45 William Kristol, "Bush v. Powell," Washington Post, September 25, 2001, p. A23. 

46 Condoleezza Rice, "Promoting the National Interest," Foreign Affairs 79, no. 1 
(January/February 2000), p. 60. 

47 Woodward, Bush at War, pp. 332-4. 

48 Ibid., pp. 335-6. 

49 Ibid., p. 336. 

50 Dana Milbank, "Cheney Says Iraqi Strike is Justified; Hussein Poses Threat, He 
Declares," Washington Post, August 27, 2002, p. A01. 

51 Glenn Kessler, "Powell Treads Carefully on Iraq Strategy; Weapons Inspections 
Urged Before Action," Washington Post, September 2, 2002, p. A01. 

52 Woodward. Bush at War, p. 345. 

53 Julian Borger, "White House in Disarray Over Cheney Speech," The Guardian 
(London), September 2, 2002, p. 1. 

54 Woodward, Bush at War, pp. 345-8. 

55 Mike Allen, "War Cabinet Argues for Iraq Attack; Bush Advisers Cite U.S. Danger," 
Washington Post, September 9, 2002, p. A01. 

56 EJ. Dionne Jr., "The Herky-Jerky Approach." 

57 James Mann, "The Left and Right Have the Secretary All Wrong," Washington Post, 
September 1,2002, p. B0 1. 

58 Syria was absent for the vote, but later associated itself with the plan. 

59 Woodward, Bush at War, pp. 49, 60-1, 83-5, 99, 107, and 137. 

7 The war against Iraq 

Normative and strategic implications 

Mohammed Ayoob 

In the twenty-first century, going to war entails not merely strategic calculations 
but normative ones as well. Norms of international society have changed suffi- 
ciently in the past few decades, and especially since the 1990s, to compel states 
and coalitions to justify decisions to go to war with reference to concerns such 
as peace, disarmament, justice, and, above all, international (as opposed to 
national) security. Simple raisons d'etat calculations, even if the primary driving 
force behind such decisions, are no longer considered politically and morally 

This does not mean that the principal factors determining a decision to go to 
war have changed radically. At the broadest level, such decisions continue to be 
based on decision-makers' perceptions of how "national interest" will be 
advanced or retarded. While this is true in the abstract, it is widely acknowl- 
edged in the decision-making literature that in actual practice, and when the 
decision-making process is disaggregated, "national interest" boils down to the 
relative strengths of domestic coalitions for and against war, the level of engage- 
ment of important interest groups, the bureaucratic politics surrounding 
decisions of war and peace, and the top decision-makers' concern for their (and 
their state's) credibility in the eyes of friends and adversaries. 

In the current context, however, when international norms require that war- 
making decisions be justified before international opinion, such essentially realist 
considerations usually have to be dressed up in moral garb in order to assuage 
skeptics, silence critics, and provide emotional comfort both to the governmen- 
tal decision-makers and to the leaders of the community of states, who may 
have to endorse such decisions or at least live with their consequences. Norma- 
tive justifications of decisions to go to war have, therefore, become routine since 
the end of the Cold War. 

While one is tempted to dismiss this exercise as a charade, it goes beyond 
mere pretense. Normative justifications that go beyond raisons d'etat calculations, 
when resorted to repeatedly, lead to the emergence and consolidation of a range 
of international expectations. In turn, they begin to change the normative 
framework within which states operate. This does not mean that strategic calcu- 
lations become irrelevant. Wars are fought above all for strategic reasons. 
However, the normative and the strategic become closely intertwined. As a 

1 5 6 Mohammed Ayoob 

result, strategic decisions have to be explained in normative terms. The norma- 
tive framework then begins to influence the way strategic decisions are made. 

At the same time, normative considerations underpinning institutions and 
structures — both formal and informal — that set limits to the actions of states are 
augmented. As the literature on "international society" produced by the English 
school has asserted for decades, such structures and institutions are constructed 
on both normative and realist foundations. 1 It would not be wrong to assert 
that during the 1990s, states, and especially the major powers, have taken 
recourse repeatedly to normative justifications while addressing issues of war 
and peace. Many, if not most, military operations across international borders 
since 1990 have been undertaken in the name of humanitarian intervention, 
thus augmenting the perception that international normative concerns have 
become increasingly important in matters of war and peace. This belief has 
strengthened further the normative element underpinning these institutions and 
structures. 2 

The Bush administration's policies, particularly its decision to wage war 
against Iraq, however, have had adverse consequences for the normative and 
institutional structures of the post-Cold War world order. Rather than bolster- 
ing U.S. pre-eminence in the international system, the Bush administration has 
undermined the U.S.'s liberal hegemonic status. 

The U.S. as liberal hegemon 

For much of the 1990s, the United States used its power with some restraint, 
popularizing the notion that it was a "liberal hegemon" different from all previ- 
ous hegemons. While the U.S. did demonstrate unilateral proclivities at times, 
the Clinton administration deliberately engaged in a rhetoric that represented 
such unilateralist moves as exceptions to the rule in terms of U.S. behavior and 
justified by special circumstances. In particular, the administration of Bill 
Clinton tried to keep relations with its major allies in the North Atlantic Treaty 
Organization (NATO) on an even keel even when intra-alliance differences 
arose, for example, over the Balkans. Washington deliberately allowed Euro- 
pean countries to take the lead in managing issues of European order and 
stepped in forcefully only when it became clear that the European members of 
NATO were incapable of doing so. This apparent demonstration of "liberal 
hegemony," which was sensitive to institutional restraints and at least ostensibly 
committed to building international, especially intra-NATO, consensus, also 
succeeded in sending the message that normative considerations were almost as 
important as strategic ones for the management of international order. 

The liberal hegemon, which the U.S. under Clinton attempted to approxi- 
mate, voluntarily allows itself to be bound by restraints imposed by multilateral 
institutions as a quid pro quo for using these institutions to serve both its own pur- 
poses and those of the membership at large. Consequently, a symbiotic 
relationship develops between these multilateral institutions and the hegemon. 
In fact, in the ideal type it becomes very difficult, if not impossible, to distin- 

The war against Iraq 157 

guish the interests of the hegemon from those of such institutions and structures. 
The hegemon frequently sacrifices some of its immediate interests in order to 
promote the legitimacy and credibility of multilateral institutions. It recognizes 
that in the long run these institutions will promote and augment its preferred 
vision of international order, which in turn will guarantee the protection of its 
strategic interests/ In other words, it is necessary for a liberal hegemon to be 
committed to a strategy of multilateralism and consensus-building, especially 
since it espouses goals that are couched in normative terms. While it was widely 
recognized even during the Clinton era that reality continued to fall well short 
of the ideal, the expectation was that reality would approximate the ideal suffi- 
ciently to maintain the credibility of both the liberal order and the liberal 

Normative implications of the Iraq war 

Several policies adopted by the George W. Bush administration, ranging from 
the nuclear to the environmental arenas, have seriously challenged the assump- 
tions of liberal hegemony. None has challenged them more fundamentally than 
the decision to go to war against Iraq despite the opposition of both the major- 
ity of people in countries allied to the United States and a significant number of 
important states within NATO, the central security concert underpinning and 
legitimizing the U.S.'s liberal hegemony. Adding insult to the injury inflicted 
upon America's allies as well as the rest of the community of states was the Bush 
administration's rhetoric, which attempted to justify the decision to go to war 
on the basis of normative concerns relating to international security, peace, 
justice, and human rights. The United States not merely demonstrated a lack of 
concern for the views of its closest allies, it also set itself up unilaterally as the 
arbiter of the criteria by which such high ils are to be served and 

those who violate them punished. 

This arrogation of moral authority and the right to make decisions about 
war and peace unilaterally on behalf of the society of states carries high poten- 
tial costs. It undermines the normative consensus underpinning the post-Cold 
War international order, thereby beginning the process of its delegitimization. 
The French and German opposition to the U.S. attempt to get the Security 
Council to hold Iraq in "material breach" of its obligations was largely an 
expression of deep concern about the American proclivity for unilateralism and 
not of visceral anti-Americanism. It was, as Philip Gordon has pointed out, "a 
refusal to accept U.S. leadership simply because America is the great power," a 
sentiment shared by most members of the international community of states. 4 
Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy 
Carter, put it bluntly in an appearance on CNN when he declared that Wash- 
ington was telling friends and foes alike to "line up" as if they were part of some 
"Warsaw Pact." He added that the United States has "never been so isolated 
globally — literally never — since 1945." 5 

American unilateralism on Iraq has clearly conveyed the message that the 

1 5 8 Mohammed Ayoob 

United Nations, and particularly the Security Council, is useful as 
for imposing and managing international order only when it does Washington's 
bidding. When it resists U.S. designs, it is either berated or bypassed or both. 
This logic was foreshadowed by the rhetoric surrounding the U.S. -led NATO 
intervention in Kosovo in 1999 without the authorization of the Security 
Council. However, post-intervention U.S. actions had led many to believe that 
this was a one-time exception and that the U.S. had learned from Kosovo: while 
it could win wars without the U.N., it could not build peace without it. 

However, the U.S. rhetoric surrounding the debate on invading Iraq, which 
amounted to demanding that the U.N. stand up and be counted or lose its rele- 
vance on issues of war and peace, made it very clear that unless the world 
organization agreed to act as an instrument of U.S. policy it would be con- 
signed to the dustbin of history. Moreover, this time the emphasis was not on 
the special circumstances that forced the U.S. to act outside the U.N. but on 
America's moral right to make decisions about war and peace on behalf of the 
society of states, and that the rest must fall in line or be declared either knaves 
or fools or both. 

It is this arrogance on the part of the world's leading producer and consumer 
of international order that bodes ill for the future of that order. It evokes the 
image of the United States as the "great irresponsible," to quote a term coined 
by the late Hedley Bull of Oxford University in 1980 to describe both of the 
superpowers who then seemed bent on undermining detente. 6 Consequently, it 
erodes the normative consensus underpinning that order and threatens to 
return the world to a more Hobbesian state where John Mearsheimer's "back 
to the future" scenario is likely to come true. 7 Unipolarity by itself does not 
inevitably create a "geopolitical backlash," as some neo-realists assume. 8 
However, unilateralism when combined with unipolarity may do exactly that. 

One should not conclude, however, that this U.S. policy will lead overnight 
to the emergence of a power or powers committed to balancing the unprece- 
dented capabilities of the United States. It also does not mean that after the war 
its European opponents — principally France, Russia, and Germany — will not 
be willing to cooperate in the reconstruction effort in Iraq under U.S. leader- 
ship or will obstruct the U.N. from participating in reconstruction and 
humanitarian activities in Iraq. European countries are well aware of the dis- 
parity in power between the U.S. and themselves, of the interdependent nature 
of their economies, and of the U.S. capacity to shut out others from lucrative 
reconstruction and future oil contracts in Iraq. However, these calculations do 
not preclude that the lessons from the Iraq war may encourage some among the 
major transatlantic states, as well as others such as China, to rethink their basic 
assumptions about the post-Cold War order and consider building alternative 
structures of power capable of balancing the U.S. in the long run. As Ivo 
Daalder has remarked, "One crucial consequence of this transformation [in 
U.S. -European relations over Iraq] is the effective end of Atlanticism — Ameri- 
can and European foreign policies no longer centre around the transatlantic 
alliance to the same overriding extent as in the past." 9 

The war against Iraq 159 

The problem is not limited merely to geopolitical backlash and erosion of 
international consensus. Unilateralism begets selectivity and, therefore, the 
charge of hypocrisy, thus eroding the moral basis of international order. 10 The 
war in Iraq has highlighted the significance of this point in unprecedented 
fashion. At least a part of the case that was used to justify invasion and regime 
change was Saddam Hussein's sustained violation of the human rights of Iraqis. 
While none can deny that the Saddam regime was one of the most repressive in 
the region, many Arabs legitimately pose the question as to why Iraq should be 
singled out for forcible regime change when other repressive regimes, including 
those of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, are not threatened with the same conse- 
quences if they do not liberalize and democratize. 11 

The argument about Saddam Hussein's using chemical weapons against his 
own people does not make sense either with regional publics because it implies 
hypocrisy and double standards. The United States and the West in general 
were supportive of the Iraqi regime when it used these weapons against Iranian 
forces and the Kurds in the 1980s and deliberately turned a blind eye. In fact, 
there are credible reports that some Western countries, most prominently 
Britain, helped Saddam Hussein acquire the wherewithal to manufacture chem- 
ical weapons in the full knowledge that he was using them against Iranian 
troops during the Iran-Iraq war. 12 Then the West supported the Iraqi dictator 
with arms and money because he was engaged in a war against the Ayatollah 
Khomeini's Iran, which was considered the major threat to Western strategic 
interests in the region. The attempt to resurrect the chemical weapons issue to 
condemn Saddam appears self-serving to most people in the Arab world and 
the wider Middle East. 

Finally, the issue of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and the 
threat they pose to its neighbors as a justification for war lacks credibility in the 
Arab world for two reasons. First, it is commonly recognized in the region that 
Saddam's WMD capability had either been wiped out during the 1990s or so 
degraded that it posed no real threat to its neighbors. This view, held across 
much of the Arab world, has been proven largely correct in the aftermath of the 
war and the U.S. failure to produce credible evidence of Iraqi WMD. In fact, 
the issue has become an embarrassment for the Bush administration and for its 
most ardent supporter, British Prime Minister Tony Blair. U.S. Defense Secre- 
tary Rumsfeld has been forced to admit that he does not know the answer to 
the question of whether Iraq was in possession of WMD at the beginning of the 
war. 15 This admission has led to harsh criticism by, among others, former 
British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, according to whom Rumsfeld's state- 
ment "blows an enormous gaping hole through the case for war that was made 
on both sides of the Atlantic." 14 

A growing number of U.S. intelligence professionals have also criticized the 
way intelligence reports were distorted and used selectively by the Pentagon. A 
group of intelligence professionals wrote to President Bush on May 1, 2003, 
protesting against what it termed "a policy and intelligence fiasco of monumen- 
tal proportions." It went on to state: "In intelligence there is one unpardonable 

1 60 Mohammed Ayoob 

sin — cooking intelligence to the recipe of high policy . . . There is ample indica- 
tion this has been done in respect to Iraq." 15 

Second, most Arab states and their publics were far more exercised about 
Israel's universally acknowledged nuclear capability than they were about Iraq's 
chemical and biological weapons. 16 This concern has been heightened by a 
spate of recent reports that have indicated that Israel had readied its nuclear 
weapons for use during the October 1973 war. 17 Israel, because of its occupa- 
tion and setdement of Palestinian lands, its increasingly bellicose posture under 
Ariel Sharon, and its demonstrated overwhelming military superiority over its 
Arab neighbors, is seen as a far greater threat to the Arab world, and even to 
Iran, than was post- 1991 Iraq. As a result, most people in the Middle East con- 
clude that the U.S. argument about Iraq's WMD threatening regional as well as 
international security was both a blatant use of double standards as well as a 
ruse to justify an invasion that was meant to serve other objectives. 

The U.S. decision to go to war has, therefore, by and large been perceived 
around the region and more broadly as subversive of international order. The 
immediate impact of U.S. unilateralism will be felt most in transatlantic rela- 
tions and in the immediate theater of operations, the Middle East, especially the 
Arab world. However, its long-term negative impact on the role of the U.N. 
and other multilateral institutions in the promotion of international order 
should not be underestimated. In particular, the U.N., while not quite the 
central player in the arena of international security, was in the process of 
becoming the main repository of international consensus on matters relating to 
conflict and order, war and peace. The legitimacy and credibility of the U.N. 
has suffered a severe blow and most states, following in the footsteps of the 
United States, are likely to treat it less seriously and defy its will more readily 
than they were inclined to do in the 1 990s. 

Global strategic implications 

Given the disparity of power between the United States and its nearest competi- 
tors, the global reach of the U.S.'s military force, and currently its almost 
unbridgeable lead in high-tech weaponry, direct participation by its NATO allies 
was not essential to ensure U.S. victory in the war against Iraq. 18 Furthermore, 
given the current state of dependence of its European allies, Washington was 
correct in assuming that they — above all, Germany — would not deny America 
the air bases and other facilities needed to reinforce and supply U.S. forces in the 
theater of operations. Rumsfeld was reflecting the reality of this unequal distribu- 
tion of power in the international system when he remarked that for the United 
States, "the mission determines the coalition and the coalition ought not deter- 
mine the mission." 19 Clearly, permanent alliances were no longer necessary in 
order to undertake military missions. Indeed, they might turn out to be a hin- 
drance to the achievement of the U.S.'s military and political goals. 

To be fair, the current administration's unilateralism and pre-emptive stance 
are not unprecedented even in the post-Cold War era. They had surfaced 

The war against Iraq 1 6 1 

immediately after the end of the Cold War among important circles in the first 
Bush administration, some of whom now form the core of the neo-conservative 
camp in the current administration. They were most clearly articulated during 
the writing of a new "Defense Planning Guidance" by the Pentagon in 1992. 
An early draft of the document, whose pi i hip is attributed to Paul 

Wolfowitz, then Under-Secretary for policy in the Defense Department and 
currently Deputy Secretary of Defense, proposed: 

that with the demise of the Soviet Union the U.S. doctrine should be to 
assure that no new superpower arose to rival America's benign domination 
of the globe. The United States would defend its unique status both by 
being militarily powerful beyond challenge and by being such a construc- 
tive force that no one would want to challenge us. We would participate in 
coalitions, but they would be "ad hoc." The U.S. would be "postured to act 
independently when collective action cannot be orchestrated." The guid- 
ance envisioned pre-emptive attacks against states bent on acquiring 
nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. 20 

Informed observers identify Wolfowitz as the intellectual powerhouse behind, 
and the most persistent advocate of, the war against Iraq. 21 

When one combines the unilateralist proclivities of Bush administration 
policy-makers with the increasing divergence in the world views of European 
and U.S. leaders and their publics, especially with regard to issues of war and 
peace, the two major pillars of the post-Cold War order seem to be drifting irre- 
versibly apart. 22 The economic and military potential of the European Union 
(E.U.), possibly underestimated by Europeans themselves, and the increasing 
disjuncture in U.S. and European world views may, as Charles Kupchan, Asso- 
ciate Professor at Georgetown University, has argued, herald "the end of the 
West." 23 Kupchan, in fact, goes further to argue that decades of strategic part- 
nership between the United States and Europe are about to give way to 
geopolitical competition. 24 While this may be overestimating the degree of polit- 
ical and strategic consensus within Europe, the U.S. decision to ride roughshod 
over popular European sentiment could heighten the sense of Europe's disillu- 
sionment with the United States and turn Kupchan's prognosis into a 
self-fulfilling prophecy. Although this is unlikely to happen in the short run, the 
Iraq war may have set in motion a process that could change the shape of inter- 
national politics in the long run. 

Regional strategic implications 

The problem does not stop with a falling out between the United States and 
"old Europe." Above all, the impact of the war against Iraq on the Middle East, 
and especially its Arab component, is likely to be both considerable and long 
lasting. It was not without reason that Amr Moussa, Secretary-General of the 
Arab League and former Foreign Minister of Egypt, declared a few months 

1 62 Mohammed Ayoob 

before the fighting began that such a war "will open the gates of hell" in the 
Middle East. 25 The fallout could shake the existing regional order to its very 
foundations in the not too distant future. This may happen for a number of 
reasons, especially since the factors mentioned below have the potential to 
amplify each other and create a situation that could easily spin out of control. 

The war is likely to add to the legitimacy deficit of pro-Western regimes in 
the Arab world. By all accounts, the chasm between Arab popular opinion 
and the stance adopted by several Arab governments on this war was so great 
that it made the disjuncture between European popular opinion and European 
governments supporting the United States pale by comparison. 26 While author- 
itarian Arab regimes have perfected the art of survival despite deep popular 
disenchantment, the U.S. venture against Iraq may be the one factor that could 
eventually bring suppressed resentments to the surface. This would be especially 
true of Egypt and Jordan, but Saudi Arabia and the Gulf sheikhdoms are also 
unlikely in the long run to escape the impact of popular anger. While one 
cannot predict with certainty the shape or form through which such resentment 
is likely to be expressed, it should not come as a surprise if some time during 
this decade the Arab world returns to a period of radicalism reminiscent of the 
1956-8 period, when several pro- Western regimes either were toppled or barely 

Popular Arab anger this time is, if anything, greater for two reasons. First, as 
a result of the Al Jazeera television phenomenon, populations have been 
exposed to real-time coverage of regional and international events from an inde- 
pendent Arab perspective. Pictures of Iraqi civilian casualties, the destruction of 
Iraqi infrastructure, and the looting of Iraqi national treasures have added to the 
already deeply felt humiliation that Arabs and Muslims perceive is being heaped 
upon them by the West, including Israel. Unlike the case of the first Gulf war, 
this time the fighting, and especially its aftermath, has been viewed in the Arab 
world through Arab eyes and interpreted by Arab journalists. 27 

The Palestine connection 

Furthermore, much of the Arab world is already seething with anger at the per- 
ceived injustices and humiliations heaped on the Palestinian people by their 
Israeli occupiers and what is perceived to be the near total lack of U.S. concern 
for their plight. President George W. Bush's characterization in April 2002, in 
the midst of the Israeli "reoccupation" of occupied territories, of Ariel Sharon 
as "a man of peace" rubbed a great deal of salt into Arab wounds. 28 It is the 
common perception in the Arab world that a major reason for the U.S. decision 
to invade Iraq is related to Washington's commitment to ensure Israel's hege- 
mony in the region. In an interesting reversal of roles, the U.S. is now perceived 
by most Arabs as acting as Israel's proxy. 29 

In this context, the Road Map for Israeli-Palestinian peace that was made 
public by the Bush administration in May 2003 is perceived in the Arab world 
as another halfhearted attempt to assuage the concerns of pro-Western regimes 

The war against Iraq 163 

that feel their legitimacy increasingly challenged. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel 
Sharon has accepted the "steps" envisaged in the Road Map, rather than the 
Road Map itself, with 14 reservations. 30 This appears to many in the Arab 
world to be a part of a well-calibrated strategy that would give the U.S. more 
credibility in Arab eyes while preserving all Israeli options. President Bush's and 
Secretary of State Powell's public assurances that they would do everything to 
protect Israeli security interests during the implementation of the Road Map 
also arouse suspicions in Arab minds. These views are not limited to Arabs 
alone. According to an article in a leading Israeli newspaper, "Israel's reserva- 
tions on the Road Map plan that were attached to the government's decision, 
turn the document from a diplomatic initiative into an Israeli diktat of a Pales- 
tinian surrender agreement." 31 

In spite of the domestic controversy in Israel, when Sharon talks, as he has 
done recently, about ending "occupation," most Arabs believe that the bulk of 
the Palestinian people is liable to be affected and not all, or even most of, the 
territory occupied by Israel in 1967. The contours of the Israeli government's 
plan to end the occupation by cantonizing the Palestinian population have 
already emerged and were visible in the implementation of the Oslo process. 
This plan would create three Palestinian cantons divided from each other by 
Israeli-controlled roads, Israeli-built fences, and Israeli settlement blocks. Such 
an outcome will keep the Palestinians "caged" in their respective cantons and 
cut off from each other and from east Jerusalem. 

According to reports in the Arab media, the Israeli plan would confine the 
overwhelming majority of the two million Palestinians in the West Bank within 
about 42 percent of the West Bank's territory, which would then be declared the 
"provisional Palestinian state" mentioned in the Road Map. 32 This Arab view is 
corroborated by what the Israeli government seems to be doing on the ground 
in terms of fencing off territories where the Palestinian population is concen- 
trated and preventing Palestinians from traveling to other parts of the West 
Bank and to east Jerusalem. According to this view, these Palestinian cantons, 
whose civil administration will be transferred to the Palestinian Authority, will 
constitute the interim arrangement as envisaged in the Road Map. However, 
this "interim arrangement" may last indefinitely because Israel could scuttle the 
Road Map at that point in collusion with its U.S. supporters. The creation of 
such a "provisional Palestinian stale" can be expected to take the international 
pressure off Israel and allow it to establish more settlements that could lead to 
the incorporation of more than half of the West Bank into Israel. 33 This view 
has gained credibility in the Arab world because of U.S. concessions to Israel on 
the implementation of the Road Map. It was brought home to the Arab publics 
once again win ister Sharon, during his visit to Washington in July 

2003, rebuffed pressure from President Bush to halt the building of the security 
fence hemming in Palestinian populations. 34 Such episodes have strengthened 
the impression in the Arab world that Washington is either unwilling or unable 
to make Israel disgorge the occupied territories and that the "Road Map" is 
nothing but a charade. 

1 64 Mohammed Ayoob 

The impression in the Arab world that the U.S. will not put r 
pressure on Israel is immeasurably strengthened by what is considered the 
blatant use by the United States of double standards. This is seen to be the case 
particularly on two issues: the violation of Security Council resolutions and the 
possession of nuclear weapons by states in the Middle East. The latter has been 
analyzed earlier and does not need to be discussed again. However, the first 
issue deserves more examination. One cannot deny that the campaign 
launched against Iraq for its violation of Security Council resolutions stands in 
sharp contrast to the lenience shown toward Israeli defiance of the Security 
Council. No threats have been made by either the United States or the United 
Nations against Israel for its non-compliance with Security Council resolutions 
relating to Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, the status of 
Jerusalem, the treatment of Palestinians, and repeated violations of the Fourth 
Geneva Convention prohibiting demographic changes in occupied territory. In 
fact, had it not been for the use or threat of a U.S. veto, Israel would have 
been in violation of many more Security Council resolutions that were aborted 
due to U.S. opposition. 

According to one estimate, Israel is currently in violation of, or non- 
compliance with, 32 Security Council resolutions passed since 1968. Iraq was 
estimated to be in violation of 1 6 resolutions before the invasion was launched. 
Interestingly, NATO member state Turkey comes second with 24 violations. 35 
Additionally, according to the tabulation made by a pro-Israeli organization, 
the United States vetoed 35 draft resolutions condemning Israel that were 
brought before the Security Council between 1972 and 2002. According to this 
source, in each case the U.S. vote was the only one cast against the resolu- 
tion. 36 This count does not include those draft resolutions that were never 
officially brought to the Security Council because it became clear during "unof- 
ficial" negotiations or "closed-door" discussions that Washington would veto 

Some analysts have pointed out that Security Council resolutions condemn- 
ing or criticizing Israel have been passed under Chapter VI of the UN. Charter, 
which are different from the Chapter VII resolutions against Iraq. 37 However, 
for most Arabs such distinctions are without meaning. The unequivocal U.S. 
commitment to Israel, therefore, ruled out any attempt by other Council 
members to move a resolution condemning Israel under Chapter VII because 
such an act would have immediately invited a U.S. veto. To the politically con- 
scious Arab public, providing Israel with such protection from resolutions under 
Chapter VII, while ensuring that Iraq was subjected to the same chapter, 
appears to be another case of the U.S. exercise of double standards. 

That Israel is exempt from rules that apply to others because of its clout 
within the U.S. domestic political process has now become an article of faith 
among Arabs and Muslims. It is also assumed that Israel's special status has 
been taken to new heights by the Bush administration. The credibility of this 
assumption is augmented because some of the most influential members of the 
Pentagon, the State Department, and the National Security Council have had 

The war against Iraq 165 

long-standing and close associations not only with Israel but also with its Likud 
esiablishment. According to a report in the Washington Post: 

Richard Perle, [now former] chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy 
Board, led a study group that proposed to Binyamin Netanyahu, a Likud 
prime minister of Israel from 1996 to 1999, that he abandon the Oslo 
peace accords negotiated in 1993 and reject the basis for them — the idea 
of trading "land for peace." Israel should insist on Arab recognition of its 
claim to the biblical land of Israel, the 1 996 report suggested, and should 
"focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq." Besides Perle. 
the study group included David Wurmser, now a special assistant to 
Under-Secretary of State John R. Bolton, and Douglas J. Feith, now 
undersecretary of defense for policy. Feith has written prolifically on 
Israeli-Arab issues for years, arguing that Israel has as legitimate a claim to 
the West Bank territories seized after the Six Day War as it has to the land 
that was part of the U.N.-mandated Israel created in 1948. 38 

The pro-Likud ranks swelled in December 2002, when President Bush 
appointed Elliot Abrams as director of Middle East affairs for the National 
Security Council. Abrams was a hard-line critic of the Middle East peace 
process and a controversial figure in Washington who had been indicted and 
convicted in the Iran-Contra scandal, but then had been pardoned by the first 
President Bush. According to one report, "Before joining the Bush administra- 
tion, Abrams expressed skepticism about past U.S. peacemaking efforts in the 
region and praised Sharon for his 'strength' and 'firmness' toward the Pales- 
tinians in contrast to the 'weakness' displayed by his predecessor, Ehud 
Barak." 39 With people such as these in positions of decisive influence, it is 
widely assumed in the Arab world that it is unlikely that the Bush administra- 
tion will be in a position to get tough with Israel if the situation demands such 
a posture. 40 

All recent U.S. administrations — Republican and Democratic — have been 
loath to put pressure on Israel because of the clout of the Israeli lobby. All 
administrations have had pro-Israel members in important positions who have 
been very influential in shaping U.S. policy toward the Middle East. The 
Clinton administration was no exception. 41 However, the difference was that in 
their public posture many of the influential pro-Israel members of earlier 
administrations supported a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that 
would be seen to be responsive, however minimally, to the Palestinians' plight 
under Israeli occupation. Moreover, many of them genuinely believed that 
extremist zealotry of the Likud variety was likely to harm rather than promote 
Israel's long-term interests. They were pro-Israel in what appeared to be a "rea- 
sonable" sort of way. 

In contrast, to quote a senior official, the current administration is staffed by 
"Likudniks." 42 Several of them, when out of office, have advocated that Israel 
repudiate the Oslo accord and keep control of the occupied territories. 43 This is 

1 66 Mohammed Ayoob 

what led former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski to state that the 
fact that 

these admirers [of Sharon] are now occupying positions of influence in the 
administration is seen as the reason the United States is so eager to wage 
war against Iraq, so willing to accept the scuttling of the Oslo peace process 
. . . and so abrupt in rejecting European urgings for joint U.S. -European 
initiatives to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians. 44 

The arguments of these pro-Israeli officials and advisers have been strengthened 
by the composition of the Israeli coalition government that came to power in 
March 2003. In the context of this coalition, it has become easier for the pro- 
Likud members of the administration to project Sharon as the Israeli "dove" on 
Palestinian issues. Consequently, President Bush is and will continue to be 
under pressure not to push Sharon very hard because it would be made out that 
the alternative would be infinitely worse. 45 True to script, the "doveish" Sharon, 
after a show of defiance and subsequent U.S. undertakings and concessions, has 
"persuaded" his divided cabinet to accept, of course with reservations, the 
"steps" laid out in President Bush's Road Map. It seems unlikely, however, that 
the Israeli government, confident of the protection provided to it by influential 
actors in Washington, will allow the Road Map to be implemented beyond the 
creation of a cantonized provisional Palestinian "state" which would admirably 
suit Israeli purposes. Sharon's track record suggests that this could be the most 
likely outcome of the current effort to implement the Road Map. 46 The result- 
ing lack of movement on final status issues and the continuing settlement of 
Palestinian lands by Israeli Jews will lead to the evaporation of the two-state 
solution. As an astute Palestinian analyst of the conflict has pointed out, this will 
mean that the "essence of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will change over the 
coming decade, from a struggle over the terms of partition of historical mandate 
Palestine into two separate states, to one over the national identity and political 
nature of a single modern-day Israel." 47 This change in the nature of the con- 
flict can be reasonably expected to further inflame Arab and Muslim opinion 
against the U.S. since Washington will be blamed for not exercising its consider- 
able influence over Israel to make the latter withdraw from the occupied 

Post-Saddam Iraq 

A further reason for the negative regional fallout of the war in Iraq is related to 
post-Saddam Iraq. Washington has seemingly decided to set up a U.S. occupa- 
tion regime for a relatively lengthy period because it does not have the 
confidence that squabbling Iraqi factions will be able to provide governance 
and stability to the country. Top U.S. officials in Iraq have signaled that the 
process of putting an interim Iraqi authority into office will take much longer 
than originally envisaged. 48 Given the divisions and antagonisms among the 

The war against Iraq 167 

rival claimants to power and the fact that there is no nucleus for an alternative 
regime, as there was in Afghanistan in the shape of the Northern Alliance, the 
chances of installing a post-Saddam regime that is not dependent upon the 
Baathist structure appear close to nil. 49 Furthermore, the U.S. administration 
appears afraid of unleashing a democratic process that may lead to pro-Iranian 
Shi'a groups garnering the lion's share of the political spoils. 30 All this has made 
Washington wary of transferring power to Iraqi hands, even those handpicked 
by the U.S. 

Paradoxically, if the U.S. leaves early it could lead to the disintegration of 
the Iraqi state into possibly two entities, which may end up being at war. Any 
possibility of Iraq's disintegration as a legal entity is likely to bring its neighbors, 
Turkey and Iran, into the fray. The fundamental fault line in Iraq lies between 
the Kurdish north and the rest of Iraq, which is Arab. The Sunni-Shi'a division 
among Iraqi Arabs is overdrawn. Both Sunni and Shi'a Arabs share Arab and 
Iraqi identities — the first is nonexistent among the Kurds and the second very 
weak. This means that Iraq, if it disintegrates, is likely to split into a Kurdish 
and an Arab state. This would make it all the more likely that Turkey would 
intervene to prevent the Kurdish state from being established, while Iran may 
come to exercise substantial, if not dominant, influence in the rump of Iraq 
where the Shi'a Arabs will constitute 75 percent of the population. 

If even a part of this scenario unfolds, the United States will be caught in the 
unenviable position of being blamed by all sides. This could well be the case 
because the U.S. will try to prevent a Kurdish state from emerging in deference 
to the wishes of its Turkish ally, thus alienating its Kurdish friends. At the same 
time, the U.S. will attempt to checkmate Iran's involvement in Iraq, thus getting 
further sucked into the domestic political maneuverings in Iraq and maybe into 
another pre-emptive war, this time against Iran. 

That a U.S.-Iran confrontation over Iraq could snowball into an all-out war 
could feed into other controversies bedeviling their relationship. These include 
Iranian support to the Lebanese Hezbollah, whom Washington considers to be 
terrorists, and U.S. allegations that Iran is building nuclear weapons and aiding 
Al Qaeda operatives responsible for a series of suicide bombings in Saudi 
Arabia. 51 President Bush seems to have already reached the decision that 
regime change in Iran is essential to protect U.S. and allied interests in the 
region. According to some reports, "President Bush has said U.S. policy toward 
Iran seeks regime change, but officials say he hasn't resolved how aggressively 
to pursue that [goal]." 52 The decision to launch a pre-emptive U.S. strike 
against Iran is likely to please the neo-conservatives and hard-line pro-Israel ele- 
ments in the administration, who already have Iran on their agenda. However, 
it could lead to a major destabilization of the region and invite the near total 
antagonism of the Muslim world. 

Finally, U.S. ambitions regarding Iraq are likely to escalate in the post- 
Saddam era, and long-term control of Iraqi oil resources can be expected to 
become the overriding goal of U.S. policy toward that country. Despite claims 
by some Iraqi technocrats that Iraq will control its oil, "The Security Council 

resolution is quite clear: Iraq is under occupation, and there is no government, 
no ministries . . . The Iraqi technocrats will manage on a day-to-day basis but 
the policy will be American, because there is no sovereign Iraq." 53 The longer 
this situation continues, the greater the temptation for Washington to use Iraqi 
oil for its own economic and political ends. Iraq's oil resources could pay for 
the war and keep Saudi Arabia and the other oil exporters from arbitrarily 
increasing oil prices and from pursuing oil policies that may hurt the United 

Most people in the region already strongly suspect that this is one of the 
major U.S. goals and that the heavy U.S. military presence in the other oil- 
producing countries in the Gulf is a part of a long-established American 
objective of controlling the bulk of the world's exportable reserves concentrated 
in the Gulf. 54 However, any attempt to control Iraqi oil, even if temporarily, is 
bound to create its own backlash within Iraq and in the region and further 
complicate the problem for the United States in terms of both maintaining 
order within Iraq and extricating itself from the Iraqi quagmire. 


Much of the credibility deficit from which the United States suffers in the 
region hinges on the question of why Iraq was targeted for regime change at 
this point in time. While the WMD threat argument, increasingly discredited by 
available evidence, is viewed as bogus by regional publics, the democratization 
argument hardly seems more genuine. In much of the Middle East the only 
plausible answer to this question is summed up in two words: oil and Israel. In 
other words, the common perception seems to be that the war against Iraq was 
planned in order to control its oil resources and to consolidate Israeli hegemony 
in the region by decimating the residual capabilities of the only Arab state with 
the potential to pose a challenge to Israel. It is widely believed in the region that 
the same logic now applies to U.S. policy toward Iran, which is the only 
Muslim country left in the Middle East with the potential to balance Israel in 
the long run in terms of both conventional and unconventional capabilities. ' ' 

The perception that the war against Iraq was fought at least in part to ensure 
Israeli hegemony in the region gains credibility from the fact that no matter 
what the long-term outcome of the war — whether the postwar situation is 
resolved cleanly or ends up in a quagmire — Israel stands to benefit. This con- 
clusion hinges on the presumption, which appears to be quite logical when 
viewed through regional lenses, that if the United States were able to disarm 
Iraq and put a friendly regime in place without creating too much adverse 
fallout, it would assure Israeli hegemony for a long time to come in the guise of 
U.S. predominance. If the outcome turns out to be messy and ends up in civil 
and regional conflict that further inflames Arab and Muslim passions against 
the United States, it will still redound to Israel's benefit. It will do so by alienat- 
ing almost all regional states from the United States, thereby making it much 
easier for Israel to argue that it is America's only viable ally and sole strategic 

The war against Iraq 1 69 

partner in the region. If such alienation translates into the further rise of Islamic 
extremism, so much the better for Israel because it would demonstrate the 
validity of the clash-of-civilizations thesis by pitting "Islam" against the "Judeo- 
Christian West." 56 While the rise of Islamic extremism may spawn further 
terrorism against Israel, this is likely to be perceived by Israeli policy-makers 
and their American supporters as a short-term tactical cost for a major long- 
term strategic gain. 

For the United States, the strategic and normative implications of the war 
can be expected to be long lasting. The Bush administration's decision to launch 
the war against Iraq is likely to lead to a high degree of Arab and Muslim alien- 
ation from the United States, thus putting America's regional interests at greater 
risk than they are already and also elevating the threat of terrorist attacks 
against U.S. targets both within the United States and abroad. 57 America's uni- 
lateral decision to go to war may well have caused major long-term harm to 
U.S. -European relations and to the normative consensus on which the post- 
Cold War order has been based. 

In order to guarantee U.S. hegemony in the short run through unilateral 
measures, the Bush administration may well have ended up damaging the 
chances of prolonging the U.S.'s legitimate pre-eminence in the international 
system over a more extended period. This war could turn out to be a watershed 
dividing the post-Cold War era from what comes afterward. The U.S.'s alien- 
ation of major European states, as well as the deep sense of unease felt by 
Russia and China at Washington's unilateralism may well lead over the next 
two or three decades to the emergence of a new global balance of power, which 
could spell the end of American unipolar hegemony. 

At the same time, many in the Middle East and the wider Muslim world trace 
the war against Iraq (and the earlier one against Afghanistan) to what one writer 
has termed "the roots of anti-Muslim rage" in the West in general and the 
United States in particular in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 1 1 , 
200 1. 38 Even before the war against Iraq, the view that the U.S. had launched a 
war against Islam had been gaining ground in the Arab and Muslim worlds. 59 
The war against Iraq has confirmed this belief among many more Arabs and 
Muslims. If this becomes the conventional wisdom in the Muslim world, and it 
may well be on the way to becoming so, it could turn the clash-of-civilizations 
thesis into a self-fulfilling prophecy. 


1 For the classic argument making this case, see Hedley Bull, The Anarchical Society 
(New York: Columbia University Press, 1977). 

2 See, for example, the International Commission on Intervention and State Sover- 
eignty, The Responsibility to Protect (Ottawa: ICISS, 2001); and the accompanying 
volume by Thomas G. Weiss and Don Hubert, The Responsibility to Protect: Research, 
Bibliography, and Background (Ottawa: ICISS, 2001). 

3 This description of "liberal hegemony" is best explained and analyzed in John Iken- 
berry, After Victory (Princeton: Princeton Fmiversity Press, 2000). 


4 Philip Gordon, "'1 lie Crisis in die Alliance", Brookings Iraq Memo #11, February 24, 
2003, http: // 

5 Quoted in Patrick E. Tyler, "Can Bush Alter Course, or Is War Inevitable?" New 
York Times, March 4, 2003, p. A12. 

6 Hedley Bull, "The Great Irresponsibles? The United States, the Soviet Union and 
World Order," International Journal 35, no. 3 (1980), pp. 437-47. 

7 John J. Mearsheimer, "Why We Will soon Miss the Cold War," The Atlantic 266, 
no. 2 (August 1990), pp. 35-40. 

8 Christopher Layne, "The Unipolar Illusion: Why New Great Powers Will Rise," 
International Security 17, no. 4 (Spring 1993), pp. 5-51. 

9 Ivo H. Daalder, "The End of Atlanticism", Survival 45, no. 2 (Summer 2003), p. 147. 

10 For details of this criticism, see Intervention and 
International Society", Global Governance 7, no. 3 (July-September, 2001), pp. 225-30. 

1 1 For one example of such views expressed by leading Egyptian figures, see Steven Lee 
Myers, "Talk of Arab 'Democracy' is a Double-Edged Scimitar," New York Times, 
February 28, 2003, p. All. 

12 For example, see David Leigh and John Hooper, "Britain's Dirty Secret," The 
Guardian, March 6, 2003, p. 1. 

13 Karen DeYoung and Walter Pincus. "U.S. Hedges on finding Iraqi Weapons: Offi- 
cials Cite the Possibility of Long or Fruitless Search for Banned Arms," Washington 
Post, May 29, 2003, p. A01. 

14 Michael White and Nicholas Watt, "Blair Faces Revolt as US Admits Doubts," Tie 
Guardian, May 29, 2003, p. 1. 

15 Jim Wolf, "U.S. Insiders Say Iraq Intel Deliberately Skewed," Reuters, May 30, 2003, 

16 For an authoritative history of Israel's nuclear weapons program that concluded that 
Israel had crossed the nuclear weapons threshold on the eve of the 1967 Six-Day 
War, see Avner Cohen, Israel and the Bomb (New York: Columbia University Press. 

17 For one such report, see Richard Sale, "Yom Kippur: Israel's 1973 Nuclear Alert," 
Washington Times, September 16, 2002. 

1 8 For an overview of the disparity in power between the United States and other 
leading states, see Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth, "American 
Primacy in Perspective," Foreign Affairs 81, no. 4 July-August, 2002), pp. 20-33. 

19 U.S. Secretary of Defense's press conference in Warsaw, Poland, September 25, 

20 Bill Keller, "The Sunshine Warrior," New York Times Magazine, September 22, 2002, 
p. 48. 

21 For example, see David Ignatius, "Wolfbwitz War': Not Over Yet," Washington Post, 
May 13, 2003, p. A19. 

22 For a discussion of the divergent world views on the two sides of the Atlantic, see 
Robert Kagan, Of Paradise and Power: America and Europe in the New World Order (New 
York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003). For an incisive analysis of the fundamental reason for 
the erosion of NATO's relevance, see Rajan Menon, "New Order: The End of 
.Alliances," Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2003, available at 

23 Charles A. Kupchan, "The End of the West," The Atlantic 290, no. 4 (November 
2002), pp. 42-4. 

24 Charles A. Kupchan, The End of the American Era (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002). 

25 Quoted in Jane Perlez, "Arabs, by Degrees, Oppose American Attack on Iraq," New 
York Times, September 6, 2002, p. A12. 

26 For a penetrating analysis of Arab opinion, see Anthony Shadid, "Old Arab Friends 
Turn away from U.S.," Washington Post, February 26, 2003, p. A01. 

The war against Iraq 171 

27 Shibley Telhami has persuasively argued the point about the Al Jazeera phenome- 
non in his recent book The Stakes: Amenta and the Middle East (Boulder: Westview, 
2002), Chapter 3. 

28 For President Bush's statement characterizing Ariel Sharon as a "man of peace," see 
Peter Slcvin and Mike Allen, "Bush: Sharon a 'Man of Peace'." Washington Post, 
April 19, 2002, p. AOL 

29 For a representative sample of Arab opinion on the issue, see Ayman El-Amir, 
"Israeli Roots of Anti-Americanism." Al-Ahram Jt'eekly On-Line, September 12-18, 


30 James Bennett. "Sharon Gives Plan for Mideast Peace Qualified Support," New York 
Times, May 24, 2003, p. Al; and John Ward Anderson, "Peace Plan Backed by 
Israel with Conditions," Washington Post, May 26, 2003, p. AOL The 14 Israeli reser- 
vations can be found in "Israel's Road Map Reservations," Ha'aretz (English), 
May 27, 2003, 

31 AMva Eldar, "Analysis/A One-Way Street," Ha'aretz (English), May 27, 2003, 

32 Azmi Bishara, "Sharon's Palestinian 'state'," Al-Ahram Weekly On-Line, July 24-30, 


33 Graham Usher, "Israeli Diktat?" Al-Ahram Weekly On-Line, May 29-June 4, 2003, " 

34 Richard W. Stevenson, "Shan n <li In Fence Project," Mew 
Fork Times, July 30, 2003, p. Al. 

35 Stephen Zunes, "United Nations Security Council Resolutions Currently Being Vio- 
lated by Countries Other than Iraq," Foreign Policy in Focus, October 2, 2002, 

36 "U.S. Vetoes of U.N. Resolutions Critical of Israel (1972-2002)," Jewish Virtual 
Lihraiy A Division of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise), UN./usvetoes. html. 

37 For example, see "Double Standards — Iraq, Israel and the UN.," The Economist, 
October 12, 2002, pp. 22-4. 

38 Robert G. Kaiser, "Bush and Sharon Nearly Identical on Mideast Policy," Washing- 
ton Post, February 9, 2003, p. AOL The full text of the report prepared by the study 
group under Perle's leadership and titled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for 
Securing die Realm" is available online at 

39 Michael Dobbs, "Back in Political Forefront: Iran-Contra Figure Plays Key Role on 
Middle East," Washington Post, May 27, 2003, p. AOL For Elliot Abrams's views on 
Sharon versus Barak see "Why Sharon?" published in on February 7, 
2001, accessed online at 
qx/pubs_viewdetail.htm on the website of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, 
Washington D.C. Before joining the NSC, Abrams served as the President of this 
think tank, which, according to its website, "was established in 1976 to clarify and 
reinforce the bond between the Judeo-Christian moral tradition and the public 
debate over domestic and foreign policy issues." 

40 For two recent accounts of the clout of the Israeli lobby in the United States, see 
Joel Beinin, "Tel Aviv's Influence on American Institutions: The Pro-Sharon Think- 
tank," Le Monde Diplomatique, July 2003,; 
and Serge Halimi, "Tel Aviv's Influence on American Institutions: A Pro-Israel 
System," Le Monde Diplomatique, July 2003. 

41 To give just one example, Martin Indyk, NSC Senior Director for the Near East and 
South Asia, Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East, and twice ambassador to 
Israel during the Clinton administration, came into the ranks of the administration 
from his job as Deputy Director of Research at AIPAC, the Israeli lobbv group in 

1 7 2 Mohammed Ayoob 

Washington, with only one stop in between. This was at the then newly founded 
Washington institute for Near East Policy. This organization, a pro-Israel think tank, 
was itself a spin-off of AIPAC, which provided it with office space for its first year in 
existence. Indyk became its founding 1'Jxceulivc Director while Barbi Weinberg. 
herself an AIPAC Director, became its President. Incidentally, Dennis Ross, the 
Clinton administration's principal point person lot the .Middle East peace talks, is 
currently the Director of the very same Washington Institute for Near East Policy. 
This strengthens the conclusion that there is a revolving door policy in operation in 
relation to the Institute regardless of which party is in power in Washington. Details 
of lndvk's biography are taken from Grace Halsell, "Clinton's Indyk Appointment 
One of Many from Pro-Israel Think lank" U'n.dtiinjoii Ri/mrl on Middle East Affairs, 
March 1993,, 
and from the Brookings Institution webpage, 
scholars/mindyk.htm. Indyk currently heads the Brookings Institution's Saban 
Center for Middle East Policy. Dennis Ross's biography can be found on the Wash- 
ington Institute's webpage online at htlp://ww\ 

42 Quoted in Robert G. Kaiser, "Bush and Sharon Nearly Identical on Mideast 

43 Douglas J. Feith has been the most prolific writer among those pushing these 
themes. For example, see the following articles by him: "Land for No Peace," Com- 
mentary 97, no. 6 June 1994), pp. 32-6; "A Strategy for Israel." Commentary 104, no. 3 
(September 1997), pp. 21-9; "Wye and the Road to War," Commentary 107, no. 1 
January 1999), pp. 43-7. 

44 Zbigniew Brzezinski, "Why Unity is Essential," Washington Post, February 19, 2003, 
p. A29. 

45 As one analyst has pointed out, in the new Israeli coalition government "Mr. Sharon 
has set himself up to function as the chief moderating voice on security matters in his 
cabinet. If Mr. Arafat is the [in 1 .1)1. man. Mr. Sharon in 
the short term may seem even more indispensable to the administration than he has 
been." James Bennet, "A Pivot Point for the Middle hast." . \ov York Times, March 2. 
2003, p. 6. 

46 According to David Shipler, a former Jerusalem bureau chief of the New York Times, 
"Mr. Sharon was once described to me as a man with 'no moral brakes.' His record 
suggests as much ... He is known for deftly pretending not to be doing what he is 
doing, or pretending to be doing what he is not . . . That solution [the Road Map] 
requires the chief architect of those [Jewish] settiements to agree to their withdrawal 
may seem to guarantee failure." David K. Shipler, "Sharon Has a Map. Can He 
Redraw It?," New York Times, June 1, 2003, p. 1. 

47 Yezid Sayigh, "The Palestinian Strategic Impasse," Survival 44, no. 4 (Winter 2002), 
pp. 7-21. 

48 Patrick E. Tyler, "In Reversal, Plan for Iraq Self-Rule Has Been Put Off," New York 
Times, May 17, 2003, p. Al. 

49 For a balanced analysis of the post-Saddam situation in Iraq, see Charles Tripp, 
"After Saddam," Survival M, no. 4 (Winter 2002), pp. 23-37. 

50 Glenn Kessler and Dana Priest, "U.S. Planners Surprised by Strength of Iraqi 
Shiites," Washington Post, April 23, 2003, p. A01. 

51 For one report among many regarding U.S. allegations about Iran's Al Qaeda con- 
nections and nuclear weapons program and their likely impact on future U.S. policy, 
see Glenn Kessler, "U.S. Eyes Pressing Uprising in Iran: Officials Cite Al Qaeda 
Links, Nuclear Program," Washington Post, May 25, 2003, p. A01. 

52 David S. Cloud, "U.S. Officials to Discuss Iran as Tensions Rise," Wall Street Journal, 
May 27, 2003. Also, see Tony Karon, "Is Iran Next?" Time, May 30, 2003,,8599,455276,00.html. 

53 Walid Khadduri, Editor-in-Chief of the well-respected Middle East Economic Sttivey 

The war against Iraq 173 

published from Cyprus, quoted in Neela Banerjee, "Iraq Will Control Its Oil, Iraqi 
Official Asserts," New York Times, May 26, 2003, p. A8. 

54 For one of many reports on the subject, see Faisal Islam, "Bush's Gun Barrels Could 
End OPEC Stranglehold," The Observer (London), January 19, 2003, p. 9. 

55 This conclusion is strengthened by Israeli commentaries, e.g. Aharon Levran, "The 
Real Threat is Iran ," Jerusalem Post, May 16, 2003. 

56 Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations (London: W.W. Norton and Com- 
pany, 1996). 

57 That American credibility has hit an all-time low in the Arab world is borne out by 
a survey commissioned by University of Maryland Professor Shibley Telhami in five 
Arab countries with regimes that are not unfriendly to the U.S. — Saudi Arabia. 
Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Lebanon — shortly before the beginning of the war 
against Iraq. The survey conducted between February 19 and March 11, 2003 
found that of those surveyed only 4 percent in Saudi Arabia, 6 percent in Morocco 
and Jordan, 13 percent in Egypt, and 32 percent in Lebanon (which has a signifi- 
cant Christian minority) had a favorable opinion of the United States. An 
overwhelming percentage felt that U.S. policy toward Iraq is motivated mainly bv oil 
and secondarily by U.S. support for Israel and very few believed that a war against 
Iraq would promote democracy in the Middle East. Furthermore, more than three- 
quarters of the respondents in every country believed that a war against Iraq would 
prompt more terrorism toward the U.S. An overview and summary of the findings 
can be accessed at 

58 Omayma Abdel-Latif, "The Roots of Anti-Muslim Rage," Al-Ahram Weekly On-line, 
October 18-24, 2001, 

59 For an incisive firsthand report, see Fawaz A. Gerges, "A Time of Reckoning," New 
York Times, October 8, 2001, p. A17. 

8 The future of U.S. -European 

Chantal de Jonge Oudraat 

Debates about the solidity of the transatlantic relationship have waxed and 
waned since the end of World War II. The fall of the Berlin Wall, developments 
after the September 2001 terrorist attacks, and the 2003 Iraqi war have led to 
much speculation about the future of transatlantic relations. Two main schools 
of thought can be distil •hment school and the estrange- 

ment school. 

The establishment school of thought argues that there are no fundamental 
problems in U.S.-European relations. 1 Advocates of this view contend that the 
main pillars of that relationship are strong. They base this optimistic view on 
four main propositions. First, they maintain that the U.S. and Europe, despite 
the end of the Cold War, continue to face common threats. Second, they 
believe that governing elites on both sides of the Atlantic have a mutual appre- 
ciation of the transatlantic power relationship. Third, they argue that the U.S. 
and European governments have many common interests. Fourth, they insist 
that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is — and will continue to 
be — the centerpiece of U.S.-European relations. 

The estrangement school of thought argues that the United States and 
Europe are drifting apart and are headed for divorce. 2 Proponents of this school 
of thought, the "estrangers," also have four main propositions. First, they 
contend that the strategic landscape has changed. With the end of the Cold 
War, the U.S. and Europe no longer face a shared threat to their survival. They 
therefore no longer need to be united on every issue. Second, they predict that 
America's unipolar moment will not last, and that it will lead to counterbalanc- 
ing efforts by others — including the European Union (E.U.). Third, they argue 
that the U.S. and Europe have increasingly divergent interests and different 
ways of looking at the world, especially increasingly conflicting economic inter- 
ests. Fourth, they believe that, with the disappearance of the Soviet threat, 
NATO has become irrelevant and will therefore disappear. 

I argue that both schools of thought are off-target in important respects. First, 
the fundamentals of the transatlantic relationship are strong; in this regard, the 
establishment is right and the estrangers are wrong. Although the end of the 
Cold War brought about many structural changes in the international system, it 
did not change the fundamentals of the transatlantic relationship. The United 

The future of U.S.-European relations 175 

States and Europe still face many common threats. They also have a mutual 
appreciation of the existing transatlantic power relationship. In addition, they 
have many common interests. I contend that the transatlantic relationship will 
continue to be strong, and it will continue to be cooperative. 

Second, both the establishment and the estrangers are wrong when it comes 
to understanding the form that the transatlantic security relationship will take in 
the years ahead. The establishment is convinced that NATO will remain the 
centerpiece of the strategic relationship. However, they ignore the fact that pat- 
terns of behavior and policy interactions are changing; NATO is no longer the 
focus of the transatlantic security relationship and over time it will become less 
important. The estrangers appreciate better that institutional frameworks are 
changing, but they are too fixated on what is happening to established institu- 
tions. Unlike the estrangers, I argue that the withering away of NATO does not 
mean that U.S.-European relations are headed for divorce. It only means that 
the form of the transatlantic security relationship is changing. The absence of 
any major security threat in Europe, and the fact that most threats to inter- 
national security are now found outside of Europe, are diverse in nature, and 
are often ill-defined, are leading to the emergence of a different type of transat- 
lantic security relationship. These extra-regional threats require flexible and 
multi-pronged responses. I contend that the institutional framework of the 
transatlantic security relationship is therefore transforming. 

My third and final argument is that what is now emerging can best be 
described as a network — what I call the "transatlantic security network." The 
main actors of this network are states, and the core of this new transatlantic 
security network consists of bilateral relations between the U.S. and the leading- 
European powers — France, Germany, and the U.K. Multilateral institutions — 
such as NATO, the U.N., the E.U., the Organization for Security and 
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and the Group of Eight (G-8) — are brought 
into policy deliberations by the leading powers only on an ad hoc basis. Ties in 
this network are fluid, dynamic, and issue-specific. They are shaped by the 
evolving transatlantic and global security agenda. 

The fundamentals of the transatlantic relationship 

The fundamentals of the U.S.-European relationship remain strong. The 
United States and Europe continue to face a range of common security threats, 
they continue to have common world views when it comes to these threats and 
the use of military force, and they continue to have many shared economic 
s and social values. 

The strategic landscape 

It is indisputable that the end of the Cold War had far-reaching consequences 
for the international system and transatlantic relations. The estrangers believe 
that the disappearance of the Soviet threat removed the essential element that 

176 Chantal de Jonge Oudraat 

brought and kept the U.S. and Europe together for over 40 years — clear and 
present dangers to their common security. They argue that the disappearance of 
the Soviet threat has eliminated the rationale for U.S. engagement in Europe. 
They also foresee the emergence of an increasingly multipolar world, which will 
lead to more visible and significant conflicts of interest, if not major crises and 
war. 3 Many estrangers also believe that U.S. primacy will trigger counterbal- 
am in» behavior by European powers. 4 

However, none of this has happened, and it is not likely to happen any time 
soon. Conflict in the Balkans has perpetuated U.S. engagement in Europe. The 
U.S., albeit belatedly, has recognized that civil conflict in central and eastern 
Europe poses a threat to security in Europe and to U.S.-European relations. 

Moreover, other security threats have brought the U.S. and Europe closer 
together. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and terror- 
ism top the list of security concerns on both sides of the Atlantic. 5 Although 
most of these threats have their origin outside of the West, modern, open soci- 
eties are particularly vulnerable to these types of global threat. The U.S. and 
Europe thus have strong common interests to combat these dangers. 

Finally, as Wi rth argues, unipolarity is likely to be both more 

durable and more peaceful than predicted by most estrangers. 6 The U.S.'s 
"decisive preponderance in all the underlying components of power: economic, 
military, technological and geopolitical" means that no other power is in a posi- 
tion to challenge the United States. Moreover, those who would be tempted to 
do so — China, France, Germany, Japan, and Russia — are likely to face counter- 
balancing efforts by other states in their respective regions. 7 Regional rivals pose 
a greater threat to those states than continuing U.S. preponderance. 

The rift that developed in January 2003 in Europe over Iraq was in this 
regard illustrative. Indeed, the published letter of eight European leaders calling 
for Europe to stand united with the U.S. in its efforts to disarm Iraq was also 
motivated by fear and anger at Germany and France whose leaders presumed 
to have an exclusive right to speak on behalf of Europe. 8 Many countries — most 
notably the E.U. candidate countries — believed in the importance of keeping 
the United States engaged in Europe as the offshore balancer against a resur- 
gent Russia and a too dominating Franco-German axis. 

In sum, the end of the Cold War brought about important changes in the 
security landscape. It eliminated the Soviet threat in Europe, but it did not 
eliminate all security threats. The U.S. and Europe continue to have a strong, 
common interest in combating these threats jointly. Finally, the U.S. remains for 
many Europeans the ultimate guarantor of their security. 

World views 

For the estrangers, the drift in U.S.-European relations has its roots not only in 
the profound structural changes that took place in the international system 
toward the end of the twentieth century, but in fundamentally different — and 
diverging — world views. Robert Kagan, a conservative U.S. analyst, argues that 

The future of U. S.-European relations 1 7 7 

European strategic culture no longer supports realpolitik or balance-of-power 
politics. He contends that "Europe in the past half century has developed a gen- 
uinely different perspective on the role of power in international relations." 
Europe "has produced an aversion to force as a tool of international relations." 9 

Recent history does not support this conclusion. First, the huge disparity in 
power between Europe and the United States often limits European responses 
to international challenges, and excludes the use of force. Differences of opinion 
between the U.S. and Europe reside not so much in the definition of inter- 
national security threats, but over the proper response to them. Europeans, 
because of their more limited capabilities and their different material interests in 
these issues, make different cost-benefit calculations than Americans. They do 
not have fundamentally different world views. 10 

Second, despite the fact that European states are advancing on the road of 
integration, national interests continue to define the position of all European 
countries. Europe was incapable of devising a unified and effective response to 
the wars in the Balkans. Similarly, it was unable to define a common stance on 
Iraq. In addition, E.U. countries remain deeply divided over issues ranging 
from agricultural policy to the building of a European defense capacity. 

Third, Europe's aversion to the use of military force is difficult to square with 
overwhelming public support in Europe — around 75 percent — for the Euro- 
pean Security and Defense Policy (ESDP). 11 Similarly, Europeans readily 
supported governmental requests to send combat troops to Afghanistan. Finally, 
several European governments provided assistance to the military operation in 
Iraq. Those who opposed the intervention — the French, in particular — did not 
do so because of a principled aversion to the use of force. 

Europeans and Americans clearly do not see eye to eye on every issue. 
However, Europeans and Americans share many basic and fundamental 
values — democracy, free trade, market economies, and human rights. Power 
and the use of force are acceptable policy instruments for many European gov- 
ernments, even if the absence of adequate military capabilities limits European 
policy options in this regard. 

Economic interests 

The conflictual nature of U.S. -European trade relations and clashes over 
import restrictions on steel and on agricultural products like bananas, beef, and 
wine have received much publicity on both sides of the Atlantic. Competition 
policy and investment issues have also been the subject of many disagreements. 
Energy and environment issues as well as financial relations are also cited as 
"potential landmines." Renowned economic analysts argue that the United 
States and the E.U. "are on the brink of a major trade and economic conflict." 12 
Two issues need to be kept in mind when assessing these claims. First, 
Europe and the United States are not each other's main trading partners. 
Indeed, both have always been more heavily engaged with their regional trade 
agreement partners than with each other. Moreover, although the E.U. and the 

178 Chantal de Jonge Oudraat 

U.S. account for 70 percent of world merchandise trade, their bilateral trade is 
less than 10 percent of world trade. E.U. merchandise exports to the U.S. 
amount to only 3.9 percent of the E.U.'s gross domestic product (GDP). U.S. 
exports to the E.U. amount to a mere 2.6 percent of the former's GDP. Services 
exports are around 1 percent of GDP for both regions. 13 Bilateral E.U.— U.S. 
trade is hence of comparatively little importance for either side. 

Second, many E.U. -U.S. trade disputes are surmountable and, in fact, get 
resolved through negotiation or adjudication. If E.U.-U.S. trade disputes are 
disaggregated, it appears that most transatlantic conflicts concern market 
access — that is, limits on the import of certain goods and services. Gary Clyde 
Hufbauer, Senior Fellow at the Institute for International Economics, and Fred- 
eric Neumann at Johns Hopkins University have shown that these conflicts 
almost always get resolved through negotiation and World Trade Organization 
(WTO) adjudication mechanisms. 14 

If one looks at foreign direct investment (FDI) figures, one sees that close 
transatlantic economic relations and high levels of interdependence are in fact 
the rule. 15 It is notable that Europe is the main international investor in the 
United States. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, European 
investment in the U.S. was almost $900 billion — 64.8 percent of total U.S. 
inward stock and 25.8 percent of total E.U. outward stock. The U.S. has $650 
billion of direct investments in Europe — 46.1 percent of total U.S. outward 
stock and 24.1 percent of total E.U. inward stock. 16 Another issue raised in dis- 
cussions about the state of E.U.-U.S. economic relations is the advent of the 
euro. Many U.S. analysts saw its introduction as an attempt to ensure a more 
significant geopolitical role for Europe in the world. 17 Some expect the euro to 
become a powerful rival to the dollar, and that it could eventually challenge the 
latter's position as an international reserve currency. 18 For the U.S. this would 
have consequences in terms of downward pressures on the dollar in currency 
markets, which in turn could make it costlier for the U.S. to borrow money 
abroad and might lead the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates. 

While the introduction of the euro was a huge success in Europe, the euro 
has not yet attained similar international success and is far from dislodging the 
dollar. According to economist C. Fred Bergsten, for the euro to acquire its full 
international potential four things need to happen. First, Europe needs to inte- 
grate its money and capital markets. Second, Europe needs to speak with a 
single voice on macroeconomic and monetary issues. Third, Europe needs to 
improve its economic performance. Fourth, the United States has to stumble 
and engage in major economic mismanagement. 19 According to Bergsten, 
"inertia is so strong in financial affairs that it may be impossible to dislodge an 
incumbent unless that incumbent essentially abdicates." 20 This is unlikely to 
happen in the foreseeable future. 

In sum, E.U.-U.S. economic disputes receive a great deal of publicity, but 
they do not contain the seeds of divorce and dissolution. On the contrary, 
strong E.U.-U.S. economic ties remain one of the pillars of the fundamentally 
cooperative E.U.-U.S. strategic relationship. 

The Jul urc of U.S. -European relations 179 

The changing institutional framework 

During the Cold War, NATO was the embodiment of the strategic relationship 
between the U.S. and Europe. However, NATO, which admitted three former 
Warsaw Pact states in 1999 and extended invitations to seven more in Novem- 
ber 2002, looks less and less like the military alliance it was during the Cold 
War. The ESDP formally came into being in December 2001, but a lack of 
strong political support and the absence of any real capabilities make it a 
Potemkin village and not a serious alternative to NATO. 

The resultant institutional vacuum is filled by a U.S. -led network of bilateral 
relations. The ground rules of this network are being defined gradually. Many 
of the current tensions between the U.S. and Europeans, on the one hand, and 
amongst Europeans themselves, on the other hand, result from the uncertainties 
created by the changing institutional framework and the necessity of adapting to 
new security challenges. 

NATO: much ado about nothing 

The Atlantic alliance, established in 1949, was based on U.S. willingness to 
commit military forces to defend western Europe against a Soviet attack. Many 
transatlantic crises followed. Meg Greenfield, writing in 1980, concluded that 
last rites for the alliance were held approximately every 16 months. 21 Concerns 
about the health of the alliance have been particularly intense since the fall of 
the Berlin Wall in November 1989. The end of the Cold War eliminated one of 
the main rationales for NATO, and many — the estrangers, in particular — 
predicted its demise. 

The leaders of NATO have argued that the alliance has adapted to these 
changing strategic circumstances and has reinvented itself. Starting in 1991, the 
alliance's leaders argued that it should become the vehicle for promoting and 
enforcing peace and stability throughout Europe. Peacekeeping in the Balkans 
and bringing stability to Eastern Europe through expansion of its membership 
were framed as justifications for NATO's continued existence. 22 

The NATO operations in Bosnia and Kosovo in the mid- and late 1990s 
were largely successful. At the same time, they sealed NATO's fate as a military 
organization because they revealed major shortcomings in European military 

ties. Subsequent efforts to improve European capabilities i: 
engagement, strategic mobility, logistics, force protection, and c 
have accomplished little. Kosovo, NATO's first combat mission, also revealed 
the shortcomings of NATO's integrated command structure. Soon after the war 
commenced, NATO had to abdicate its operational role to a U.S. task force 
once its initial plan — a short bombing campaign — failed to intimidate the 
Serbian leadership.- ' 

U.S. leaders took away two main lessons from the war over Kosovo. First, it 
reinforced the U.S. idea that war by multilateral committee is a bad idea. The 
U.S. military also had more serious doubts about the reliability of its allies. 

1 80 Chantal de Jonge Oudraat 

Second, Kosovo showed Washington that the U.S. could do it alone. Not sur- 
prisingly, when the U.S. launched its war against Al Qaeda and the Taliban it 
did not seek NATO's military assistance. The invocation of Article V by the 
North Atlantic Council on September 12, 2001 was not an American initiative 
and it was not followed by any significant NATO military action. It is clear now 
that Kosovo was a watershed: it signaled the end of NATO as a military 
combat organization. The February 2003 crisis, whereby France, Germany, and 
Belgium vetoed Turkey's request for assistance to defend itself in the case of war 
against Iraq, was another nail in NATO's coffin. 24 

NATO is still searching for a mission. The alliance, however, is ill equipped to 
deal with the two foremost security threats that face the U.S. and Europe — ter- 
rorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). First, these 
new threats are amorphous and their actors are often hard to identify. Military 
responses to these threats require highly mobile and flexible forces. However, 
most European countries have insignificant power-projection capabilities. 
Second, the pre-emptive missions that the current Bush administration is envis- 
aging for these new threats require offensive capabilities and an offensive 
war-fighting doctrine. NATO does not have these types of capability and orien- 
tation. NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson has repeatedly stated that 
NATO is a defense alliance and is not in the business of "looking for problems to 
solve." 25 This also explains why there was no role for NATO in the war in Iraq. 
Third, the war against terrorism requires good intelligence, but NATO lacks 
effective intelligence capabilities. In the Kosovo war the "U.S. met approxi- 
mately 95 percent of NATO's intelligence requirements." 26 Intelligence sharing 
within NATO has also proved extremely difficult. This, in turn, impedes multi- 
lateral military action. Fourth, NATO's consultation and decision-making 
procedures are cumbersome and inflexible. NATO is not set up to make rapid 

None of these problems is easily fixable. They reflect structural problems 
that plague all multilateral organizations. Organizing for undefined offensive 
operations that do not involve vital interests is extremely difficult, if not impossi- 
ble, in such institutional settings. Intelligence sharing is also inherently problem- 
atic. In addition, making decisions quickly and without leaks — two essential 
requirements for pre-emptive operations — is virtually impossible in multilateral 

Finally, today's security threats require more than just military responses. 
Indeed, the most effective responses are those that involve both military and law 
enforcement operations and those that can bring a variety of coercive and 
inducement instruments to bear. None of this bodes well for NATO. 

ESDP: an irrelevant irritant 

U.S. attitudes toward European defense initiatives have always been ambiva- 
lent. While supporting these initiatives, the U.S. has also always been very 
led about a loss of American predominance. This concern was re 

The future of U. S.-European relations 1 8 1 

in the 1990s when Europeans began to develop a European Security and 
Defense Policy (ESDP). 

In 1991 E.U. member states asked the Western European Union (WEU) "to 
elaborate and implement decisions and actions of the Union which have 
defense implications." In June 1992 the WEU Council of Ministers adopted the 
so-called Petersburg tasks. These tasks included humanitarian and rescue mis- 
sions, peacekeeping tasks, and combat tasks in crisis management, including 
peacemaking. However, E.U. efforts to establish an independent European mil- 
itary capability subsequently stalled. The wars in the Balkans showed Europe's 
inability to articulate an effective response through multilateral organizations 
such as the E.U. and the WEU. This pushed talk about a European defense 
capability to the background in the mid-1990s. 

The idea of developing an autonomous European defense capability resur- 
faced in 1998 when British Prime Minister Tony Blair declared that Europe 
must have the capacity to carry out military operations without relying on the 
United States. To develop this initiative, Blair turned to the French. The 1998 
Anglo-French declaration in St. Malo laid down the parameters of a European 
defense policy. Throughout 1999 the E.U. set out to create the appropriate 
structures and define the military arrangements for autonomous action. In 
December 1999 the Helsinki European Council decided that by 2003 
E.U. member states must be able to deploy within 60 days and for one year a 
military force of up to 60,000 troops capable of carrying out all the Petersburg 
tasks. At the Laeken Summit in December 2001 the E.U.'s leaders declared the 

It is widely recognized that the E.U. will not be able to carry out "high-end" 
military operations by 2003. Two problems plague the ESDP. 

First, the E.U.'s shortfalls in military capabilities are serious. It has been cal- 
culated that if the European Rapid Reaction Force (RRF) is to mobilize 60,000 
troops it will need a pool of between 180,000 and 220,000 troops. 27 At present, 
only 100,000 have been committed. Moreover, many of these troops are not 
trained or equipped for the type of mission envisaged in the Petersburg tasks. 
The transformation of the defense postures of western European countries 
from homeland defense against a Soviet invasion to crisis management and 
"out-of-area" missions was initiated in the early 1990s, but progress has been 
slow. Unlike the U.S. military, European military forces were not, and still are 
not, organized for power projection. Most European states do not have the 
capabilities to mobilize troops quickly and efficiently. Combat support capabil- 
ities (particularly airlift, sealift, and air-to-air refueling), precision-guided 
munitions, command and control, interoperable secure communications, and 
intelligence are among the chronic deficiencies of European military organiza- 
tions. Given the unlikelihood of significant increases in western European 
defense budgets, it is difficult to see how the capability problem can be solved 
in the near future. 

Second, nobody really knows where and when the E.U.'s RRF would inter- 
vene. The E.U. lacks a strategic concept or even a general c 

1 82 Chantal de Jonge Oudraat 

critical issue. 28 France and Italy have a more expansive definition of "high-end" 
Petersburg tasks. They argue that they include Desert Storm and Kosovo-type 
operations. The United Kingdom and the Netherlands are more cautious, even 
though they recognize the need for the RRF to have real combat power. 
Germany and Sweden would prefer to focus on peacekeeping rather than full 
combat operations. In addition, little agreement exists as to whether terrorism 
should be part of the Petersburg tasks. 

Unless strong political backing materializes for ESDP, this project will lan- 
guish and may collapse. Significantly, the International Institute for Strategic 
Studies noted that throughout 2001 and 2002 "strong political guidance on 
ESDP was nowhere to be found." 29 ESDP's fundamental flaw, however, is that 
it is an ineffective instrument for addressing the security threats of the early 
twenty-first century. European governments should therefore acknowledge that 
ESDP has limited objectives. This would remove a prominent irritant in 
U.S.-European security relations. 

The future of NATO and the ESDP 

The estrangers are partially correct in predicting the withering away of 
NATO. The alliance's reason d'etre was lost when the Cold War ended. The cessa- 
tion of conflict in the Balkans put on hold its crisis management and European 
stabilization mission. Its remaining functions — the socialization of eastern Euro- 
pean military organizations and training European militaries — will ensure its 
continued survival, but these are marginal activities. NATO has already lost its 
place as the main pillar of transatlantic security relations, and its position will 
continue to erode. 

Many believe that the ESDP can fill the vacuum left by the decline of 
NATO. However, irrespective of Washington's attitudes toward the ESDP, 
European countries are deeply divided over the objectives of the ESDP. The 
lack of strong political support is most reflected in ESDP's striking lack of capa- 
bilities. ESDP is alive, but unlikely to thrive. 

NATO and ESDP will play marginal roles in transatlantic security relations 
in the future because they are ill equipped to deal with the new security threats 
that the United States and Europe face — the proliferation of WMD and terror- 
ism. These types of threat require innovative, adaptive, flexible responses. 

The new transatlantic security network 

The rigidities, limitations, and inefficiencies associated with established hierar- 
chical security organizations in Europe are leading to the emergence of new 
forms of transatlantic security cooperation. The U.S., which sets the agenda in 
this regard, wants the help of many states when dealing with the new security 
threats. The campaign against Al Qaeda and other terrorists with "global 
reach" has seen the involvement of many states. Similarly, the United States 
sought international cooperation for the war against Iraq. However, much of 

The future of U.S.-European relations 183 

this cooperation — including the transatlantic variety — is not channeled through 
such multilateral organizations as NATO or the United Nations, or through ad 
hoc coalitions, but through a web of fluid and mostly bilateral relations. 

The transatlantic security relationship that is emerging can best be described 
as a network. The contours and parameters of the new transatlantic security 
network are being defined against the backdrop of the terrorist attacks of Sep- 
tember 1 1 and the preventive war against Iraq. Not surprisingly, it gives rise to 
tensions on both sides of the Atlantic, and it will undoubtedly take several years 
before crystallizing. That said, five main characteristics of the network can be 

First, ties in this network are fluid, dynamic, and issue-specific; they are 
based on what social network specialists call "social capital" or "kinship." In the 
transatlantic security context, this refers to threats, power, and interests. The 
U.S. and Europe continue to face common threats. They also have a mutual 
appreciation of power disparities, and they share many interests. This is partic- 
ularly true for the three leading European powers — France, Germany, and the 
U.K. However, the activation and operation of the network is issue-specific. 
Ties in the network are dynamic and fluid because they are determined by the 
evolving transatlantic and global security agenda. The network changes shape 
to deal with new security threats as they appear. 

Second, the main actors of this network are states, and the heart of the 
network is the U.S., together with France, Germany, and the U.K. Bilateral 
relations between the U.S. and these three European powers form the core of 
the transatlantic security network. 

Third, this core is supplemented by relations in and with existing inter- 
national and multilateral organizations such as NATO, the E.U., the OSCE, 
the G-8, and the United Nations. These institutions are brought into policy 
deliberations on an ad hoc basis and for very specific purposes. During the Gold 
War, NATO was the centerpiece of the transatlantic security relationship but 
now has a secondary role; it has to compete with other institutions. For 
example, after the September 1 1 attacks against the World Trade Center and 
the Pentagon, the U.S. went first to the United Nations — not NATO — to 
gather support for retaliatory action. The General Assembly and the Security 
Council were mobilized to condemn the attacks in the strongest possible terms 
and to help track the financial movements of terrorist groups. Similarly, the 
UN. became the focus for gathering support for a military attack on Iraq. 

Smaller European powers will generally find themselves at the periphery of 
transatlantic security relations. In the new transatlantic security network those 
on the periphery have loose ties with the core. However, if a small country 
establishes a "niche" capability that makes it a valuable partner for the core, it 
can create a strong relationship with the core on specific issues. Role specializa- 
tion is a particulark attractive option for smaller European countries. 

Fourth, the transatlantic security network is relatively autonomous. Disputes 
in other areas, such as the economic arena, have little effect on relations in 
the security network. For example, U.S.-European trade disputes have not 

1 84 Chantal de Jonge Oudraat 

significantly influenced the transatlantic security dialogue. Similarly, disagree- 
ments related to environmental issues have not spilled over into the security 

Fifth, the ties in the new transatlantic security network are difficult to trace. 
Contacts and activities increasingly take place outside the public view. This is 
due to the nature of today's new security threats and the challenges of devising 
effective responses, as well as domestic politics. Terrorists and proliferators of 
WMD prepare in secret. Surprise rather than a public injunction is the more 
effective response to these types of enemy. Good intelligence is also a prerequi- 
site for effectively countering their surreptitious actions. The data-gathering 
part of this activity is clandestine by nature. In addition, as policy responses 
become more varied and enter the arena of law enforcement, the judiciary, and 
the financial sphere, it becomes more difficult to keep track of government 
responses. Finally, domestic politics may obfuscate what is happening. Although 
Europe-bashing plays into politically expedient stereotypes in the U.S., so does 
playing the anti-American card in Europe. Moreover, governments generally 
are loath to be seen as " : nters of other governments' poli- 

cies and decisions. For example, European governments have been very public 
in expressing their discontent about U.S. rejection of European offers of cooper- 
ation. They have been less public about their actual contributions to the war in 
Afghanistan, which have been more substantial than regularly acknowledged in 
the media. 

Problems and prospects 

As with any changes in security relations, there are potential problems that 
might become concrete. First, if the new transatlantic security network is to be 
sustained it must go beyond the purely bilateral "hub-and-spoke" model that 
the U.S. administration is currently championing. Each node of the network 
must be allowed some autonomy and the ability to create its own sub- 
networks — that is, build long-lasting coalitions of like-minded states. The 
United States should therefore relax its attitude toward the ESDP. It should also 
be careful to avoid fomenting division among European states. A divided 
Europe is not in the United States' long-term interests. 

Second, European policy-makers must articulate a vision of a Europe that 
goes beyond the continent as a "civilian" power. If Europe wants to be a 
partner of the United States, it needs to indicate what international responsibil- 
ities it is willing to undertake — not to counterbalance the United States but to 
support it or to make it see reason when necessary. The draft strategic concept 
paper introduced by European High Representative Javier Solana in June 2003 
is in this regard a step in the right direction. 30 

Third, for the transatlantic network to be effective and sustainable, the 
United States and Europe need to build an international consensus regarding 
the basic rules that govern the network. A key in this regard is the development 
of a common understanding on the use of force. How and when are pre- 

The future of U.S.-European relations 185 

emptive and preventive attacks justified? The debate over Iraq shows that this 
will require patience and restraint but also, at times, boldness. The proliferation 
of WMD and the rise of terrorism require that everyone give this more serious 

Fourth, European policy-makers would do well not to emulate the domineer- 
ing and brusque style of the Bush administration. For instance, French 
President Jacques Chirac's irritation with the letters by the eight and the Vilnius 
ten is understandable, but his public rebuke to "shut up" was reminiscent of 
Washington's rhetoric and inexcusable. Greater attention to the concerns of 
small and new partners has to be a guiding principle of European diplomacy. 

Fifth, fluidity, nimbleness, and dynamism make networks effective, and over- 
lapping capacities are not only inevitable but make them resilient. However, the 
activities of networks are hard to track because of the absence of a static physi- 
cal infrastructure. This in turn impedes public accountability and may make 
investments in these networks difficult to justify to domestic constituencies. 

Although tensions have heightened between the United States and some of 
its European allies over Iraq, the fundamentals of the transatlantic relationship 
remain strong. This is not to say that transatlantic tensions and grievances 
should not be taken seriously. However, many of the grievances are over style, 
process, and appropriate tactics in particular situations. They are not over core 
interests and policy objectives. 

Unilateral and even pre-emptive actions are not in principle rejected by 
European powers. The debate between Europeans and Americans is not a 
debate over unilateralism versus multilateralism, but rather a debate over 
respecting differences. 

The search for new forms of transadantic cooperation is driven by the chang- 
ing nature of the security challenges faced by the United States and Europe. 
The key challenge for policy-makers on both sides of the Atlantic is to create a 
system that allows for flexibility — yet remains accountable to the publics that the 
system serves. 

Government and NATO representatives are typical spokespersons of this school of 
thought. See, for example, Ronald D. Asmus, "United We'll Stand," ]\'aslwigl<in Pusl. 
May 6, 2002; Debate, Ronald Asmus v. Charles Grant: "Can NATO Remain an 
Effective Military and Political Alliance if it Keeps Growing?" .NATO Revieic. Spring 
2002; Antony J. Blinken, "The False Crisis over the Atlantic," Foreign Affairs 80, no. 3 
(May-June 2001), pp. 35-48; Wesley Clark, Waging Modern War (New York: Public 
Affairs, 2001); Wesley Clark, Chas Freeman Jr., Max Cleland, and Gordon Smith, 
Permanent Alliance'.' XATO's Prague Summit and Beyond (Washington D.C.: The Atlantic 
Council, Report of the Atlantic Council Working Group on the Future of the 
Atlantic Alliance, April 2001); Robert J. Lieber, "No Transatlantic Divorce in the 
Offing," Orbis 44, no. 4 (Fall 2000), pp. 571-84; Christian Tuschhoffi "The ties that 
bind: ailied commitments and NATO before and after September tf," in Esther 
Brimmer, Benjamin Schreer, and Christian Tuschhoffi Contemporary Perspectives on 

1 86 Chantal de Jonge Oudraat 

Eimijifiui Security (Washington D.C.: American Institute for Contemporary German 
Studies, The Johns Hopkins University, German Issues 27, 2002), pp. 71-95. 

2 See, for example, Robert Kagan, "Power and Weakness," Policy Review, no. 113 
June-July 2002), pp. 3-28; Charles Kupchan, "After Pax Americana: Benign Power, 
Regional Integration and the Sources of a Stable Multipolarity," International Security 

23, no. 2 (Fall 1998), pp. 40-79; Julian Lindley-French, Terms of Engagement: The 
Paradox of American Power and the Transatlantic Dilemma Post- 11 September (Paris: Institute 
for Security Studies, May 2002, Chaillot Papers, no. 52); Jessica Matthews, 
"Estranged Partners," Foreign Policy, no. 127 (November-December 2001), pp. 48-53; 

John J. Mearsheimer, "Back to the Future: Instability in Europe After the Cold 
War," International Security 15, no. 1 (Summer 1990:, pp. 5-56; John J. Mearsheimer, 
"The Future of the American Pacifier," Foreign Affairs 80, no. 5 (September-October 
200 1 ), pp. 46-6 1 ; John J. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (New York: 
WW. Norton and Company, 2001); Stephen M. Walt, "The Ties That Fray: Why 
Europe and America Are Drifting Apart," The National Interest 54 (Winter 1998-9), 
pp. 3-11. 

3 See, for example, the writings of Mearsheimer and Wall. 

4 See, for example, Kupchan, "After Pax Americana," and Peter W Rodman, Drifting 
Apart? Trends in U.S.-European Relations (Washington, D.C.: The Nixon Center, 1999). 

5 See, for example, the contours of an E.U. strategic concept in "A Secure Europe in 
a Better World," presented by Javier Solana, the E.U. High Representative for the 
Common Foreign and Security Policy at the European Couneil summit at Thessa- 
lonikionjune20, 2003. 

6 See William C. Wohlforth, "The Siabiliiv of a Unipolar World," International Security 

24, no. 1 (Summer 1999), pp. 5-41. 

7 Ibid, (quote from p. 7); and Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth, "Ameri- 
can Primacy in Perspective," Foreign Affairs 81, no. 4 July-August 2002), pp. 20-33. 

8 See the letter by the U.K., Spain, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, Denmark, and 
the Czech Republic published on January 31, 2003 in the Wall Street Journal and a 
number of European newspapers. It was followed shortly thereafter by a letter of the 
"Vilnius ten" — the ten NATO candidate countries, including five E.U. candidate 
countries. The letter provoked a strong public rebuke by French President Jacques 
Chirac telling E.U. candidate countries that they had better shut up. 

9 See Kagan, "Power and Weakness," p. 12. 

10 Even on policy questions, such as the war against terrorism and the Middle East, 
European and American policy positions are much closer than many think. See, for 
example, Marianne van Leeuwen, E.U. and US Security Relations and the New Transat- 
lantic Agenda: Two Cum' Studies 'The Hague: Clingendacl, January 1999). See also Jim 
Hoagland, "Europe's Mideast Mellowing," Washington Post, July 14, 2002, p. B7. In 
terms of legal perspectives in the U.S. and Europe, I would argue that even in this 
area there is more of a coming together than a drifting apart. In 1997 Anne-Marie 
Slaughter wrote about how "judges are building a global community of law." She 
quoted U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor who "predicted that she 
and her fellow justices would find themselves 'looking more frequently to the deci- 
sions of other constitutional courts'." See Anne-Marie Slaughter, "The Real New 
World Order," Foreign Affairs 76, no. 5 July-August 1997), pp. 186-7. In June 2003 
at the height of the "Atlantic rift" the U.S. Supreme Court did exactly that, when in 
the case Lawrence v. Texas it invoked a 1981 gay rights opinion by the European 
Court of Human Rights. See Linda Greenhouse, "In a Momentous Term, Justices 
Remake the Law, and the Court," New York Times, July 1, 2003. 

11 See Frauke N. Bielka and Chrisian lin hiiofi, "Common Threats: Diverging Res- 
ponses" (Washington, D.C.: AICGS-Paper, 2002) at See also 
"Public Opinion and European Defence: Results of a European Opinion Survey" at 

The future of U. S.-European relations 1 8 7 

12 See C. Fred Bergsten, "America's Two-Front Economic Conflict," Foreign Affairs 80, 
no. 2 (March-April 2001), p. 17. 

13 See Joseph P. Quinlan, Drifting Apart or Growing Together? The Primacy of the Transatlantic 
Eainumr Wellington. 1).( .:.: Center lor Tran>allanii< Johns Hopkins 
University, 2003). See also Andre Sapir, "Old and New Issues in E.C.-U.S. Trade 
Disputes," paper presented at the Conference on Transadantic Perspectives on 
U.S.-E.U. Economic Relations: Convergence, Conflict, and Cooperation, John 
F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, April 1 1-12, 2002. See also 
\\ ilhehn Kohlcr. "Issues of U.S.-E.U. Trade Policy," paper presented at the Confer- 
ence on Transa lives on U.S.-E.U. Economic Relations: Convergence. 
( '< inllicl and Cooperation, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Univer- 
sity, April 11-12, 2002. Both papers can be found at http://www.ksg.harvard. 
edu/cbg/ conferences. 

14 See Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Frederic Neumann, "U.S.-E.U. Trade and Invest- 
ment: An American Perspective," paper presented at the Conference on Transatlantic 
Perspectives on U.S.-E.U. Economic Relations: Convergence, Conflict and Coopera- 
tion, John F Kennedy School of Government. Harvard L'niverMtv, April 11—12, 
2002. This paper can be found at and 

15 See Quinlan, Drifting Apart or Growing Together? 

16 See T.R. Reid, "Buying American? Maybe Not. Many U.S. Brands European- 
Owned," Washington Post, May 18, 2002, p. E01. 

17 See, for example, Rodman, Drifting Apart?, p. 13. 

18 See C. Fred Bergsten, "The Euro versus the Dollar: Will there be a Struggle for 
Dominance?," paper presented to a Roundtable at the Annual Meeting of the Amer- 
ican Economic Association, Atlanta, January 4, 2002, p. 7; and Rodman, Drifting 
Apart?, pp. 1 1-26. 

19 See Bergsten, "The Euro versus the Dollar." 

20 Ibid. 

21 Quoted in "United in Disarray," Washington Post, May 29, 2002, p. A16. 

22 In July 2003, NATO took over peacekeeping operations in Afghanistan and there 
was talk of a NATO peacekeeping role in Iraq. This globalized NATO's peacekeep- 
ing role and was put forward as a testimony to its relevance. 

23 See James P. Thomas, Tie Military Challenges of Transatlantic Coalitions (Oxford: Oxford 
University Press 2000), Adelphi Paper no. 333, p. 47. 

24 It must be noted that the United States did nothing to prevent this crisis from erupt- 
ing. Aware of the positions of France and German)-, which argued that provision of 
such assistance would lock NATO "into a logic of war," the U.S. nonetheless pushed 
to have a formal decision by NATO. 

25 Cited in Thomas E. Ricks and Vernon Loeb, "Bush Developing Military Policy of 
Striking First: New Doctrine Addresses Terrorism," Washington Post, June 10, 2002, 
p. A01. 

26 See Thomas, The Military Challenges, p. 52. 

27 See Jolyon Howorth, "The European Security Conundrum: Prospects for ESDP 
after September 11, 2001," Groupement d'Etudes et de Recherches, Notre Europe, 
Policy Paper, no. 1 (March 2002), p. 9. 

28 The concept paper introduced by Solana at the E.U. Council's summit meeting in 
Thessaloniki was a step in that direction. See Solana, "A Secure Europe in A Better 

29 International Institute for Strategic Studies, Military Balance 2001-2002 (London: 
IISS, 2001), p. 29. 

30 See Solana. "A Secure Europe in a Better World." 

9 Legal unilateralism 

Jose E. Alvarez 1 

In the wake of the United States' invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the future of 
transatlantic relations has become a hot topic. Some are predicting that the next 
"clash of civilizations" will be between Europe and the United States while 
others, more sanguinely, contend that the political and economic fundamentals 
of the transatlantic relationship remain strong. 2 I am content to leave these 
grander debates to non-lawyers capable of addressing them. The argument here 
is more focused on the emerging divergences in legal culture between Europe 
and the United States, particularly with respect to public international law and 
its institutions. My contention is that the perceived "unilateralism" of the U.S., 
which is the source of considerable transatlantic friction, has a legal dimension: 
European international lawyers take multilateralism more seriously than do 
many of their U.S. counterparts. 

The clash of legalizations 

History suggests that it is possible for countries that differ sharply with respect 
to legal traditions to share compatible or similar values. For decades, Europe 
and the United States have been staunch political allies despite distinct civil law 
and common law systems. Nations that have shared a fairly unified vision of 
what they were for (democratic values, human rights, ever-freer markets), as 
well as what they were against (totalitarian regimes, governmental violations of 
human dignity, economies driven by government directive), have long differed, 
for example, on how to define the nationality of their respective corporations or 
whether lhe\ would rely on juries to try criminal cases. 

Transatlantic differences in national legal culture have sometimes had an 
impact on foreign affairs. The nations that regularly voted as a unit in global 
forums like the United Nations and united for common defense in NATO have 
nonetheless engaged in cordial but real competition when it comes to exporting 
their respective visions of the rule of law to newly decolonized states. Repeat- 
edly, efforts to export law and legal institutions have floundered precisely 
because of real differences in legal culture between Europe and the United 
States reflected in the heritage of former colonies. John Kennedy's idealistic 
Alliance for Progress eventually found that its attempts to export U.S. law and 

Legal unilateralism 1 89 

U.S. -style legal education did not find fertile ground in the civil law countries of 
Latin America, for example. 3 Nonetheless, at least when the rules governing 
foreign and national affairs occupied more or less separate domains, differences 
in national legal culture mattered relatively little at the level of inter-state rela- 
tions. States that differed on the way the rule of law operated within national 
borders could still agree on distinct rules of the game with respect to foreign 

Today, of course, the subject matter of international law can no longer be 
cabined easily within a defined realm of "foreign affairs." Thanks in part to the 
growth of the international law of human rights, there is scarcely a subject — 
from family law to criminal law — that is not now the subject of a multilateral or 
bilateral treaty or rule of international custom.'* The abundant flows of capital, 
goods, people, and ideas across borders have increased efforts to harmonize the 
rules that govern formerly "domestic" affairs. They have also compelled states 
to address the interface between national and international law through the 
principal tools of public international law: treaties and custom, and the organi- 
zations that shape both. Despite evidence that the substantive rules of domestic 
law that govern societies in Europe and in the United States are becoming 
increasingly similar in a number of areas (particularly in economic areas such as 
trade and investment), it appears that Europe and the United States may be 
growing farther apart with respect to their attitudes toward the rules and insti- 
tutions of public international law. While these differences in legal world views 
do not always explain differences in government policy on both sides of the 
Atlantic, they help to explain the way U.S. actions, in and out of the U.N., are 
perceived, particularly in leading European countries (such as France and 
Germany) and especially among legal elites in those countries and within their 
foreign ministries. 5 

The most visible recent manifestation of transatlantic legal cleavages among 
international lawyers emerged with the U.S. decision to wage war on Iraq in 
March 2003. Prominent international lawyers in Europe were virtually unani- 
mous that such a war was either manifestly illegal or of dubious legality, and 
most believed that it was in any case unwise. 6 Their views reflected the wide- 
spread opposition to the war among Europeans generally. By contrast, while 
the majority of prominent international lawyers in the United States were prob- 
ably of the same opinion, a number of them defended the recourse to the war, 
consistent with the prevailing views among the general public in the United 
States. 7 

While more salient during the current Bush administration, these cleavages, 
involving both academics and governmental elites, have not been limited to 
post-September 11 tensions. Over the past decade, Europe and the United 
States have been at odds over the U.S.'s refusal to become a party to a number 
of significant treaties, including the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, the 
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Conven- 
tion Protocol, the Kyoto Protocol, the Statute of the International Criminal 
Court (ICC), the amended Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Convention 

190 Jose E. Alvarez 

on Biological Diversity, and the Landmines Convention. European and U.S. 
treaty negotiators have also clashed with respect to the negotiation of an accord 
on small-arms trafficking. European international lawyers have been highly crit- 
ical of the United States' continued lack of ratification of a number of global 
conventions that most Europeans argue reflect universal human rights stan- 
dards, including treaties adopted within the International Labor Organization 
(ILO), the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women 
(CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International 
Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and Protocol One of the 
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 8 

Disputes over global human rights standards, whether or not reflected in 
these treaties, have led to repeated refusals by European states and courts to 
extradite wanted criminals to the United States lest they face the death penalty 
and to international legal challenges over the U.S.'s refusal to comply with 
International Court of Justice (ICJ) orders to defer executions of those individu- 
als whose rights under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations may have 
been violated, in addition to well-known post-September 1 1 tensions over the 
U.S. handling of immigrants and those detained in Guantanamo. 9 Transatlantic 
relations have also been tested with respect to the U.S. tendency to resort to 
extraterritorial application of U.S. economic sanctions (most prominently with 
respect to Helms-Burton sanctions on Cuba, but also including unilateral sanc- 
tions against Libya and Iran); U.S. unilateral threats or efforts involving trade 
(pursuant to Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act); and U.S. unilateral certifica- 
tions of drug-producing and transit countries; as well as other recent U.S. 
unilateral deployments of force (e.g. Sudan, Libya, Afghanistan before 2002, 
and Iraq in 1998). 10 

Europeans generally, including their international lawyers, have been espe- 
cially vocal critics of the Bush administration's announced intent to apply the 
doctrine of pre-emptive self-defense, whether with respect to terrorists, states 
that harbor terrorists, or those possessing weapons of mass destruction (WMD), 
as well as the administration's more immediate threats to act against the three 
members of its proclaimed "axis of evil." 11 Prominent European states have also 
clashed with both the Clinton and current Bush administrations with respect to 
initiatives within prominent international organizations — for example, World 
Trade Organization (WTO) remedies on bananas and beef hormones; U.N. 
peacekeeping in Bosnia-Herzegovina (1992-5); and Security Council sanctions 
onlraq(1998-2001). 12 

Most recendy, European-U.S. frictions have emerged with respect to contin- 
uing efforts by the Bush administration to undermine, and not merely refuse to 
participate in, the ICC. Transatlantic tempers continue to flare over Washing- 
ton's efforts to have the Security Council exempt peacekeepers from the ICC's 
jurisdiction and U.S. attempts to negotiate bilateral agreements with state 
parties to the ICC under which these states would refuse to transfer to the 
Court any U.S. nationals. 13 

While some of these legal disputes have involved allegations that the United 

Legal unilateralism 191 

States was breaching its international obligations, many involved disputes over 
the U.S.'s unwillingness to enter into international obligations. Some involved 
concerns that Washington was abusing the international negotiation process or 
established institutions in pursuit of a unilateralist agenda at odds with the 
broader interests of the international community of states. Undoubtedly, many of 
these conflicts reflect clashes of real or perceived national interests. Political sci- 
entists of the realist persuasion have managed to make a credible case that 
individually and collectively the smaller, weaker states of Europe have a corre- 
spondingly greater interest in the institutions of public international law than 
does the so-called hyperpower. Given their relatively weak trade leverage, Euro- 
pean states would also naturally resist U.S. efforts to deploy its greater trade 
leverage — especially to promote policies inconsistent with the interests of Euro- 
pean political elites or prominent European constituencies — and would generally 
prefer multilateral sanctioning efforts at the United Nations to U.S. unilateral 
economic sanctions. Europeans' affinity for certain arms-control measures and 
the multilateral use of force also might be seen as the necessary by-product of 
Europe's relative military weakness. States that refuse to devote, collectively or 
individually, a substantial percentage of their gross domestic products (GDPs) to 
military hardware and personnel might be naturally predisposed to accept arms- 
control agreements and more likely to resist the unilateral resort to force by 
others, particularly if such force might result in greater security threats to Europe 
itself. The relevance of perceived national interest is also clear to the extent that 
Europe itself is divided with respect to some of these issues; it would appear, for 
example, that at least some countries of eastern Europe, more immediately and 
vitally interested in U.S. foreign investment flows, have been more sympathetic to 
U.S. legal positions on some of these issues or at least less willing to take issue 
with them. 

But these explanations of recent transatlantic international legal clashes do 
not wholly explain those that have a less obvious grounding in realpolitik, such 
as European affinity for human rights treaties or apparent greater sensitivity to 
the human rights impact of U.N. sanctions. 14 Nor is it obvious why Europeans, 
who ultimately rely on the U.S. military umbrella, would fail to endorse U.S. 
decisions that might enhance the ability of the U.S. to protect both itself and 
Europe (including actions that protect the U.S. privileged development or 
deployment of certain weapons or its use of landmines in the Korean penin- 
sula), or why European governments as well as their lawyers would rail against 
U.S. unilateral actions directed at harms in third countries that both Europeans 
and Americans clearly abhor, such as drug-trafficking, trade protectionism, or 
human rights violations. It is also hard to explain why democratically governed 
welfare states on either side of the Atlantic would differ so sharply over whether 
individuals, including those living in their respective territories, should be 
subject to criminal accountability in the ICC when they commit grave inter- 
national crimes. Surely neither the United States nor Germany wants to be 
perceived as a refuge for the world's perpetrators of genocide? Further, given 
)ted common European-United States political and economic ii 

192 Jose E.Alvarez 

including shared perceptions of national security threats, it is difficult to explain 
the depth of many of these clashes or the rancor with which many of them 
appear to be expressed. 

Differences in national self-interest, at least if narrowly defined to exclude 
differences in legal culture, are not the full story. The realists do not tell us how 
states decide what their national interest is. They do not tell us why, for 
example, the states of "old Europe" appear disinclined to develop credible mili- 
taries. Constructivist political scientists, who have challenged or supplemented 
the work of their realist colleagues, have suggested that ideas, including legal 
ideas and the processes they set in motion, matter and help to determine what 
states perceive as their national interest. 15 The proposition advanced here is that 
most of these clashes can be attributed, at least in part, to the fact that a greater 
number of Europeans, including influential legal elites in and out of govern- 
uh to international law than do many of their U.S. 
counterparts. Those looking for an explanation for why Europeans appear to 
take multilaterialism much more seriously should consider, as part of their 
account, the fact that Europe's positivistic international lawyers take multi- 
lateralism more seriously. 

European v. U.S. lawyers 

The stark differences in legal philosophy between European and some promi- 
nent U.S. international lawyers were evident even before they became 
front-page news in the midst of U.N. debates over a second Iraqi war. At a 
European-U.S. conference on "unilateralism" in 2000, for example, Europeans 
identified the legal obligation to cooperate as the "basis for the whole postwar 
international legal order." 16 Across a range of issues, from trade sanctions to 
environmental actions, the Europeans asserted that the law of the U.N. Charter, 
as well as the rules in particular treaty regimes, accorded fundamental impor- 
tance to the duty of states to respect the sovereign equality of states by neither 
unilaterally imposing their will on others nor substituting a "diktat for concerted 
action." 17 As a leading French public international lawyer, Pierre-Marie Dupuy, 
put it, states' right to act alone is "residual and conditioned." 18 

For Europeans at that conference, the "law of coexistence" meant that states 
could not resort to unilateral measures until they exhaust available means of 
international negotiation; that international law now requires states to "choose 
the path of compromise and negotiated settlement." 19 Unsurprisingly, Dupuy 
and the other Europeans found much in recent U.S. foreign policy that violated 
the principle of cooperation and treaties that incorporate it. 20 The Europeans 
were especially emphatic concerning the operative rules restricting unilateral 
recourse to force. Vera Gowlland-Debbas was critical of the now popular idea 
that member states might be implicitly authorized to take unilateral action in 
defense of collective goals pronounced by the Security Council when that body 
becomes paralyzed by the veto. 21 For her, the Charter's rules on the use of 
force, even in instances involving grave and ongoing human rights atrocities, 

Legal unilateralism 193 

were clear, emphatic, and subject to no exception: "resort to unilateral action in 
the absence of express Council authorization . . . remains an act of usurpation 
of Council powers and a resort to force which is prohibited under international 

The U.S. international lawyers participating at that conference were far 
more sanguine about unilateral action and far more dubious about the value of 
multilateral action, including by the U.N. 2 ' 5 For the Americans, the starting 
point for assessing the legality of unilateral actions was neither normative prin- 
ciple nor treaty text, but the structure of the international legal system and its 
ability to effectuate laudable goals. Michael Reisman contended that while, in 
domestic legal orders characterized by effective institutions, unilateral acts by 
unauthorized participants were presumptively illegal, this was not the case in 
systems (such as the current international order) characterized by ineffective 
institutions, where unilateral acts may prove necessary to vindicate the funda- 
mental, legitimate demands of its participants. For Reisman, the lawfulness of 
unilateral action (such as humanitarian intervention in Kosovo) should not be 
determined by the mechanical application of rules but by asking whether, in 
terms of the wider international legal process, the action "optimizes the many 
policies that may be expressed in rules." 24 Particularly when it comes to the vin- 
dication of human rights, where agreement of all the relevant members of the 
Security Council is unlikely, Reisman suggested that the present U.N. system 
fails to vindicate the interests of democratic governments that are under pres- 
sure to act in such cases and have the power to effectuate a unilateral remedy. 25 

Ruth Wedgwood was more blunt: the Security Council machinery has never 
worked quite as planned; the community of states has constantly had to adapt 
the Charter because of its blatant ineffectiveness; and the international commu- 
nity will need to allow more latitude for both regional and unilateral uses of 
force in defense of new realities such as WMD, undeterrable non-state terror- 
ists, and a paralyzed Security Council unable to do the right thing. 26 
Wedgwood disparaged the European tendency to rely on the governing text of 
international instruments: "The interpretative principles deployed in the appli- 
cation of a constitutive text may also depend," she argued, "on the nature of the 
values and interests at stake — the teleology of an instrument as much as its 
literal form." 27 When push comes to shove, she contended, we cannot wait for 
unanimity when important values are at stake. Given the need to take effective 
action to protect expanded notions of human security and human rights, Wedg- 
wood called for a "morally driven" teleological reading of Chapter VII and the 
Charter generally and not one driven by originalist intention. 28 She concluded 
by defending the legality of not only NATO's Kosovo actions, but also the 1998 
air raids on Iraq by the U.S. and U.K., as well as the U.S. air strikes on Sudan 
and Afghanistan in 1999. 29 Another U.S. international lawyer at that confer- 
ence unapologetically asserted the right of powerful states to invoke political 
concerns to trump formal legal commitments — as the United States did when it 
refused to pay its U.N. dues. Another contended that the U.S. was justified in 
withholding its consent to the Landmines Convention because that suspect 

194 Jose E.Alvarez 

treaty was the product of fundamentally undemocratic modes of supranational 
law-making involving the participation of unaccountable, single-issue NCOs. 30 

Probing differences: three explanations 

What accounts for these differences among people ostensibly committed to the 
rule of law in international affairs, trained in the same methods, and working 
with the same legal texts? One participant at the same conference (a Canadian 
international lawyer now in U.S. legal academia) suggested that one explana- 
tion might be differences in how international lawyers are trained on one side of 
the Atlantic compared to the other. According to this view, the blame or credit 
for the present state lies in the policy-oriented school of international law estab- 
lished by Professors Myres McDougal and Harold Lasswell at Yale Law School 
and their inordinate impact on the U.S. professorate. While defenders of the 
Yale School argue that it is ideally suited to adapting law to ever-changing cir- 
cumstances, its critics contend that it provides little more than a rationalization 
for unilateral action by the powerful. 31 Others, while still focusing on differences 
in professional culture among international lawyers, cast their net wider. The 
problem or virtue of U.S. international lawyers, whether or not associated with 
the Yale School, is that they take an interdisciplinary approach. U.S. interdisci- 
plinarity, whether associated with the political right (e.g. law and economics) or 
the political left (e.g. postmodern or critical approaches), leads to open-ended 
and sometimes critical perspectives on the law at odds with the more rule- 
oriented positivist training of European lawyers. 32 U.S. international lawyers, 
like other American lawyers, may also be affected by the peculiar kind of rule- 
skepticism associated with anti-formalism or the realist tradition in U.S. legal 
thought; they are trained to blur the boundary between law and "policy," which 
European positivists would describe as politics. 33 

A second explanation connects internationalist sensibilities to more general 
national legal traditions. In this view, the reactions of the U.S. international 
lawyers surveyed above are variations on a single national trait: a shared "civic 
religion" premised on the belief that all legitimate law, at the international and 
national levels, must be traced to acts of popular sovereignty as understood and 
mediated by the U.S. Constitution. 34 For many Americans, including some of its 
international lawyers, legitimate law is that which promotes or protects the par- 
ticular form of democracy, human rights, and free markets that Americans enjoy 
under their constitution and legitimately seek to export. 35 As suggested by 
attempts to justify the failure to pay U.N. dues or complaints about the illegiti- 
macy of the Landmines Treaty negotiations, it is inconceivable to many 
Americans that lawful political authority could be exercised outside of the U.S. 
Constitution. Even some cosmopolitan international lawyers believe in Ameri- 
can exceptionalism. Some U.S. international lawyers apparently believe that 
theirs is the "City on the Hill" that others should emulate; that U.S. values, 
readily identified as global ones, are the values that international rules and insti- 
tutions must advance, lest they be legitimately ignored or bypassed. 36 

Legal unilateralism 195 

In this view, the difference between European and some U.S. approaches to 
international law is not that the former approach to law is from a value-free 
perspective while the latter is not. On the contrary, Europeans may simply be 
prioritizing a different set of values or goals. They value "orderly decision, pre- 
ceded by due deliberation and followed by authorized and inclusive 
application" 37 — undoubtedly from a belief that such procedures, anticipated in 
the U.N. Charter, are the best way to protect the sheer diversity of competing 
claims, benefit from the best advice, and emerge with the most well-considered 
options. At least some U.S. international lawyers have a more particularized 
agenda: using law to pursue benevolent goals such as the promotion of democ- 
racy, the promotion of human rights, or the eradication of ethnic cleansing. 

To the extent that this is the case, the U.S.'s historical ambivalence toward 
multilateral institutions is just as likely to emerge from the left of the political 
spectrum as from the right. U.S. frustration with the U.N. has stemmed, for 
example, as much from its inability to confront genocide as it has from its 
foot-dragging on WMD. To the extent that European lawyers are on a com- 
parable mission to save the world, their civic religion is multilateralism, a shared 
preference for the international over the national, integration and inter-state 
cooperation over sovereignty. 38 

There are soft and hard variations on such ''cultural affinity" explanations 
for transatlantic differences. At the softer end are those that draw connections 
between international lawyers and certain national legal traditions. It might be 
argued that common-law lawyers, accustomed to activist judges who make law 
in the course of interpreting it, are more apt to stretch existing text to suit new 
situations, even in contexts which appear, to lawyers trained in civil law, as 
transparent rationalizations for flexing U.S. muscle. If common-law modes of 
thinking are generally more responsive to politics, this would provide another 
explanation for why the United States was able to find common cause with 
both Australia and the United Kingdom with respect to Iraq. 39 It might explain 
why international lawyers trained in common law, accustomed to teleological 
readings of their own laws, might be more amenable to those dynamic readings 
of the U.N. Charter that license unilateral action. It is also the case that some of 
the legal disputes surveyed above, including transatlantic differences with 
respect to U.S. behavior during and at the end of prominent treaty negotiations 
or concerning the propriety of unilateral remedies within certain regimes such 
as trade, may turn at least in part on substantive differences between civil and 
common law; they may also reflect diverging legal trends in particular areas of 
regulation. 40 

In its most extreme form, the cultural account may help to explain the views 
of John Bolton, presently the Under-Secretary for Arms Control and Inter- 
national Security in the Bush administration. Bolton argues that the absence of 
a credible tie between the rules of international law and politically accountable 
governmental action as provided by the U.S. Constitution means that inter- 
national "law" does not exist; nations might be "politically" or "morally" bound 
to adhere to their treaties, but they cannot be said to be legally bound. In his 

196 Jose E.Alvarez 

view, it does a great deal of harm to extend the legitimacy of the term "law" to 
instruments as fundamentally different as the U.S. Constitution and the Statute 
of the ICC or the U.N. Charter. To Bolton, the U.S. battle against the ICC 
and other forms of supranational, "undemocratic" government is about nothing 
less than protecting U.S. sovereignty and Americans' right to accountable 

But Bolton also articulates what may be the firmest explanation for why 
European polities, and not merely their international lawyers, may have greater 
faith in multilateralism, namely the history of European integration. As Bolton 
points out, the "dissolving of nation-states into the European Union" reflects an 
express relinquishment of sovereignty, a divestment of authority in favor of a 
supranational institution that would be politically inconceivable to anybody in 
the United States. 42 Bolton criticizes this transformation of Europe as suggesting 
Europeans' lack of commitment to their own constitutional autonomy and as 
implying the existence of a global conspiracy to use supranational processes to 
subvert U.S. democracy. Others have looked to the legal forms of European 
integration, both within the European Union (E.U.) and within the European 
system for human rights, as models for correcting the flaws of international 
systems of governance, such as the U.N. 43 

Both critics and admirers of European integration agree, however, that 
decades of developments within the E.U. — including ever-growing attempts by 
individuals and national courts to use preliminary rulings by the Court in Lux- 
embourg to overturn or reform national laws, the transformation of European 
law into directly applicable and hierarchically superior rules, the gradual 
empowerment of both international and national judges as de facto lawmakers 
accomplished through an international treaty ideologically interpreted, and the 
ever-expanding substantive reach of European law and its institutions — have 
had wider sociological effects. There are, in addition, the integrative effects 
prompted by the expansion and deepening of the European system for human 
rights, centered in Strasbourg. 44 The transformative processes set in motion by 
the Luxembourg and Strasbourg Courts provide a plausible basis for explaining 
why the multilateral commitments expressed by Europe's international lawyers 
resonate with ordinary Europeans. ' ' 

As a consequence of the relatively successful European schemes to govern 
their community as well as to resolve complaints relating to human rights viola- 
tions within the continent, Europeans generally (and not just legal elites) see 
international commitments as part and parcel of domestic law. Europeans, 
including national judges and legislators in national capitals, have become 
accustomed to treating treaties and the legally binding decisions of international 
organizations as no less "law" than any edict issued by a domestic parliament or 
order by a domestic court. Years of judicial activism by international judges at 
Strasbourg and Luxembourg have gotten the average European citizen accus- 
tomed to the idea that sovereign prerogatives are not immutable and that 
international bureaucrats, including international judges, can overrule long- 
standing national laws in favor of new rules contained in an international treaty. 

Legal unilateralism 1 9 7 

Europeans are more prepared to accept the idea that everything, even the most 
sensitive issues formerly regarded as within the essential core of sovereignty, 
such as the proclamation of a national emergency, is subject to international 
scrutiny and, ultimately, to the international rule of law. Ironically, the civil-law 
nations of Europe for which the notion of an activist lawmaking national judge 
was largely alien are now far more accustomed to judicial activism by their 
international brethren than are members of the U.S. polity. 

European governments may or may not comply "better" or more often with 
their international obligations than does the United States government. As this 
author has argued elsewhere, European integrative processes respond to the 
unique agendas of the European continent and may not have a direct correlation 
with these states' receptiveness to global norms generated outside of Europe. 46 
There is not a direct one-to-one correspondence between Europeans' deep and 
demonstrated commitments to comply with European law and their readiness to 
do the same with respect to rules promulgated by the U.N. or the WTO. 47 

The argument here is more modest. European integrative processes, accom- 
plished via the tools of international law, have subtly altered Europeans' 
perceptions of themselves and of the nature of the nation state. Much more so 
than Americans, Europeans define sovereignty, as have Abram and Antonia 
Chayes, as "no longer consist [ing] in the freedom of states to act independently, 
in their perceived self-interest, but in membership in reasonably good standing 
in the regimes that make up the substance of international law." 48 Europeans 
are far more likely than Americans to give priority to status as a member of the 
international system, achieved through participation in the "various regimes 
that regulate and order the international system." 49 Relative to Americans, 
Europeans are more acclimated to the idea that sovereign rights can be traded 
away, that external intervention in the internal affairs of states by collective legal 
mechanisms is acceptable and often necessary, and that even matters dealing 
with national security are under a rule of law determined by a greater commu- 
nity of nations. 

If Europeans have greater — some would say naive — faith in the ability of 
international institutions to bring errant states into line, perhaps it is because 
they have seen it done with considerable success not just within the treaty struc- 
tures of the European system for human rights and the European Union, but 
also through the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). 
Europeans are used to seeing treaties taken seriously, by both national and 
international judges and by both national and international civil servants. Since 
they have, for decades, seen some of their rights and duties as citizens, including 
in the so-called "private" sphere, affected by "public" international law rules, 
they are more amenable than Americans to the notion that the "social contract" 
extends beyond the nation state. 

The differences between U.S. nationals and Europeans have become espe- 
cially clear in the wake of September 1 1 . Europeans are inured to international 
scrutiny even with respect to the war on terrorism — a war that they have waged 
for far longer than have Americans. 

198 Jose E.Alvarez 

Since the first cases brought against the United Kingdom for it 
alleged Irish Republican Army (IRA) terrorists until today — when the Strasbourg 
Court is dealing with Turkey's treatment of political dissidents — Europeans have 
applied international law and international courts to claims of national self- 
preservation, necessity, and self-defense. European judges have repeatedly 
rejected the idea that the doctrine of self-preservation responds to no law, that 
the rule of law stops when terrorism begins, that states have the right to unre- 
stricted powers when dealing with national security threats. In a series of 
judgments, the European Court of Human Rights has dared to suggest, for 
example, that the right-to-life provisions of a treaty require states to abstain from 
the lethal use of force when international judges determine that such force has 
exceeded what is reasonably required under the circumstances, and that the 
same right to life requires states to conduct effective investigations whenever they 
use lethal force, even as against alleged terrorists from Northern Ireland. 50 

By comparison, in the United States the very idea that anyone — particularly 
an international court — has the power to tell the Supreme Court or even Tom 
Ridge that he is out of line on the basis of international legal commitments is a 
non-starter. These attitudes are reflected in Washington's reluctance to acknowl- 
edge the application of international humanitarian law to those captured and its 
resort to lawless detention in Guantanamo — the legality of which, to date, is 
subject to no scrutiny except perhaps by U.S. courts. 51 We see the differences as 
well with respect to the well-known U.S. reluctance to commit to many forms of 
binding international dispute settlement, particularly with respect to human 
rights. Unlike our European allies whose national laws have had to undergo 
considerable modification in response to human rights rulings by international 
judges, the United States has generally avoided any effective judicial scrutiny 
when it comes to human rights. It has not opened itself to the individual com- 
plaints mechanisms of even those few human rights treaties it is party to, has 
renounced the compulsory jurisdiction of the World Court (in reaction to its 
rulings in the Nicaragua case), has refused to accept the jurisdiction of the Inter- 
American Court of Human Rights, and has refused to enforce provisional 
s from the International Court of Justice (ICJ). For the United States, 
Europe and even increasingly most governments in Latin 
America, international human rights are essentially for export. 

While European lawyers today are engaged in adapting their laws (and even 
some of their constitutions) to a number of international regimes — whether the 
provisions of the Statute for the International Criminal Court or the requisites of 
a number of other global and regional treaty regimes — U.S. counterparts are 
spending their time dealing with the consic : -h generated by 

the relatively few somewhat intrusive international regimes that the U.S. is 
subject to, principally in the WTO and the North American Free Trade Agree- 
ment (NAFTA). While European international lawyers wrestle with balancing 
international constraints with local sensibilities through nuanced inquiries (as 
suggested by the European doctrines of "subsidiarity" and "margin of apprecia- 
tion"), 52 U.S. lawyers at such nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) as Public 

Legal unilateralism 1 99 

iblic and often sophistic battles against the enforce- 
ment of international rules resulting from those relatively narrow economic 
regimes to which the U.S. is subject. While Europeans have handed over final 
judicial supervision of their national criminal trials to Strasbourg's international 
judges, members of the U.S. Congress are so frightened of the prospect that 
some U.S. citizens abroad might be subject to a different set of rules to guaran- 
tee their rights to fair trial that they have authorized the President of the United 
States to use "all means necessary" to extricate any U.S. national sought to be 
tried by the ICC in The Hague. 53 While even the European state that is cultur- 
ally and politically closest to the United States, namely the United Kingdom, has 
effectively constitutionalized an international bill of rights, Bush administration 
lawyers, as well as prominent members of U.S. academia, are even now attempt- 
ing to ensure that no federal court will find a cause of action based on customary 
international law generally or customary human rights norms in particular. 54 

My European students are amused at the high state of anxiety expressed in 
the United States over those few international regimes that might now have a 
potential impact on U.S. law. For them the idea that national environmental 
laws might be challenged as a violation of an international legal commitment — 
now possible under the WTO and the still fragmentary cases decided under the 
investment chapter of the NAFTA — is old news. 50 Europeans have been 
wrestling with the political backlash — or "democratic deficit" — generated by 
"unaccountable" supranational legal processes for a long time. While they have 
not solved these issues even at the European level, they are much farther along 
with respect to ameliorative remedies. 56 Europeans have repeatedly adjusted 
national constitutional norms in response to the needs of coexisting within a 
broader community of nations while the average U.S. citizen relies not only on 
the myth but the reality that the 200-year-old-plus U.S. Constitution is sacred, 
unalterable holy writ. 57 Bolton is probably right when he suggests that the 
typical American would be aghast at the notion of judges other than those 
authorized by the U.S. Constitution passing judgment on the rights and respon- 
sibilities of U.S. citizens. This would be regarded as "un-American" precisely 
because it has generally not happened, as compared to Europe where it 
happens every day. 

These differences help to put in context why Europeans have taken such 
affront at many actions of the Bu tiion, particularly after the tragic 

attacks of September 2001. For those who treat human rights provided in a 
treaty as binding national law, a nation that disregards these fundamental oblig- 
ations, whether in Guantanamo or by pressing for inhumane economic 
sanctions, cannot be trusted to respect its other international obligations. This 
also explains why many Europeans view with considerable cynicism justifica- 
tions of the latest U.S. invasion of Iraq grounded in the defense of human 
rights. 58 For such states, even instances not involving a formal breach of inter- 
national law but merely a failure to engage speak volumes. The U.S. failure to 
negotiate in good faith in Kyoto, its sabotaging of other states' commitments to 
the ICC, and its undermining international commitments on landmines suggest 

200 Jose E. Alvarez 

a lack of respect for the reciprocal give-and-take which, to Europeans at least, is 
the essence of international law. While the failure of the Bush administration's 
U.N. initiative on Iraq has many causes — including opportunism by European 
states — we should not ignore the relevance of these differences of perspective, 
grounded in professional culture, legal tradition, and recent history. 

Differences between Europeans and Americans emerge not only when the 
United States chooses to ignore multilateral institutions, but also over how the 
U.S. uses those institutions when it chooses to do so. It matters to Europeans 
how the U.S. uses the Security Council and not just whether it goes to it. The 
Iraqi debacle suggests that the problem that the United States faces, particularly 
vis-a-vis "old Europe," is not only its lack of engagement with multilateral 
processes. A nation that pays its full U.N. dues only after September 1 1 when it 
decides it needs the U.N. is not altogether trustworthy even when it resorts to 
the world organization. Europeans, as well as many others, judge good faith by 
how the United States has used the Security Council in the recent past. To 
many of them, the United States' post-Cold War use of the Council suggests a 
desire to use it as a multilateral fig leaf for what Dupuy would call "unilateral 
diktats," and not as a venue for good-faith multilateral civil discourse. 

Europeans and others have now seen the U.S. pressure the Security Council 
(in Resolution 1422 of July 12, 2002) into carving out a legally dubious excep- 
tion to the ICC's jurisdiction for U.N. peacekeepers that does no credit to either 
the Council or the Statute of the ICC. They have seen the U.S. use the Council 
(in Resolution 1373 of September 28, 2001) to enforce against all states selective 
provisions of the U.N. Convention on the Financing of Terrorism (a treaty then 
not yet in force), ignoring provisions in that treaty that recognize that the impo- 
sition of financial sanctions on individuals alleged to be terrorists or accused of 
providing material assistance to terrorists needs to conform to the standards of 
international human rights and international humanitarian law and may 
require some form of judicial review. 59 They have seen Washington's domi- 
nance on the Security Council repeatedly being used to pursue its own narrow 
geopolitical interests — such that the world organization is pressured to authorize 
force to prevent Haitian refugees from reaching the shores of Florida but not to 
prevent a horrific genocide in Rwanda. Due to the United States' undoubted 
power, the Security Council's selectivity on these and other issues is attributed, 
fairly or not, to U.S. lack of interest in using the Council to define or defend 
coherent international rules applicable to all. 60 

Explaining Iraq 

The European reaction to Washington's attempt to use the Security Council to 
authorize renewed military action against Iraq needs to be put in this greater 
context. For European international lawyers, the legitimacy of Resolution 
687, which imposed the terms of the peace on Iraq after the Gulf war, was con- 
ditioned on a continued commitment to multilateral cooperation. That "mother 
of all resolutions" was adopted when U.S. power in the Council was at its peak 

Legal unilateralism 201 

but also at a unique historical moment for the U.N., when hopes were high that 
the United Nations would finally work as intended without the veto. Particularly 
from the perspective of European positivist lawyers, a number of aspects of Res- 
olution 687 were unprecedented and legally dubious, especially in hindsight. 61 

This resolution imposed by fiat duties on Iraq to destroy most of its weapons, 
including many not banned by any treaty to which Iraq was a party. It selec- 
tively imposed on only one country in the region requirements for a nuclear 
freeze, which the General Assembly had urged for the entire Middle East. It 
imposed, without benefit of due process or opportunity for Iraq to rebut, exten- 
sive financial liability for any and all consequences of the Gulf war, including 
liability far in excess under then existing international law (e.g. for environmen- 
tal damage). It stipulated, again without benefit of judicial recourse or due 
process, boundary demarcations. Resolution 687 effectively put Iraqi sover- 
eignty in receivership. A political body, namely the Security Council, rather 
than any court, determined that Iraq had breached the law, imposed a system 
of reparations, and suspended sovereign rights. The Council in Resolution 687 
imposed a foreign presence on Iraqi territory, deprived it of a great deal of its 
oil revenues, authorized continued low-level economic war on its people, and 
arguably infringed Iraq's ability to engage in its own self-defense. 

Resolution 687 criminalized the Iraqi regime no less than the war-guilt clause 
in the Treaty of Versailles branded Germany. Like a typical criminal sanction, 
Resolution 687 stigmatized Iraq as a rogue nation, deprived it of rights and 
es, and marked this change in status through the application of extensive 
s and ongoing surveillance. 62 Resolution 687 is about criminalization — 
even though the community of states has repeatedly rejected the idea that they, as 
such, or their peoples as a collective, ought to be found guilty of committing 
international crimes. For many states, this was a controversial step. For the states 
of "old Europe," the relevant model for handling aggressors is not the highly 
punitive reparations of Versailles but the individual responsibility of Nuremberg. 
They reluctantly acceded to U.S. demands for Resolution 687 because the 
Nuremberg model of individual culpability was impossible to attain since the 
main culprit was out of reach and because, in the unique context of that post- 
Gulf war moment, they assumed that the Security Council and not any single 
state would be in charge of supervising Iraq's criminalization. They assumed that 
the international community of states, working through the Council, would suit- 
ably adjust the punishments as conditions warranted. 63 

This was the legal mind-set that the United States encountered when it 
sought, at the beginning of 2003, to transform Resolution 687 from a license to 
punish into a license to invade in order to impose "regime change." As shown 
by growing international opposition to Iraqi sanctions, the international com- 
munity (and not merely the states of "old Europe") was already having second 
thoughts about the turn to the Versailles model before the Bush administration 
entered office. That administration offended many when it suggested, before 
eventually turning to the U.N., that there was no need for renewed Security 
Council authorization to use force. For members familiar with the reluctant 

202 Jose E. Alvarez 

deal struck in 1991, this was yet another demonstration of the United States' 
lack of good faith. 

Neither in authorizing the Gulf war nor later in ending it, had any Council 
resolution authorized regime change in Baghdad. In neither case had the Secu- 
rity Council granted the United States carte blanche to wage war for an 
indefinite period. 64 In neither case had the Council given the United States uni- 
lateral, unrestricted authority to inflict punishments not spelled out in 
Resolution 678 or 687 or to set itself up as the Council's self-judging enforcer of 
Iraq's disarmament. U.S. arguments 12 years after the Gulf war suggesting that 
it had unilateral authority to topple Saddam Hussein based on that regime's 
failure to abide by the Council's orders suggested to many (and not merely 
Europeans) a contempt for the requirement to adhere in good faith to both the 
text and the intent of legal instruments. It appeared to be yet another instance 
in which the United States was treating law, determined by the collective and 
binding on all, as mere politics. 

At bottom, the legal divide between the United States and Europe is not 
about perceptions of reality. European international lawyers would not disagree 
that the history of international law is replete with many instances in which 
might makes right. The difference lies in perceptions of what it is proper for 
lawyers to do. For European international lawyers, it is not the place of lawyers 
to relinquish their comparative expertise — their skill in deciphering legal texts — 
to have the ear of the Prince. They would contend that it is not the place of 
lawyers to encourage, applaud, or anticipate the breach of law by the powerful, 
even for ostensibly benevolent ends. 


1 The author is grateful for comments received from colleagues George Bermann, 
( atherinc MacKinnon, and Oscar Schachter. 

2 Compare Charles A. Kupchan, "The End of the West," Atlantic Monthly, November 
2002, p. 42 (suggesting a looming transatlantic "clash of civilizations") to Joseph 
P. Quinlan, Drifting Apart or Growing Together? The Primacy of the Transatlantic Economy 
(Washington: Center for Transatlantic Relations, 2003), 
atlantic/Ouiiilaii" n20Text.pdf (suggesting that economic ties are likely to remain the 
basis of a solid transatlantic alliance), as well as Chantal de Jonge Oudraat in this 

3 See, for example, Jose E. Alvarez, "Promoting the 'Rule of Law' in Latin America: 
Problems and Prospects," George Washington Journal of International Law and Economics 
25, no. 2 (1991), p. 281. 

4 Indeed, it is the perceived expansion of international law's realm, especially through 
the growth of intern,! his. which causes some U.S. international 
lawyers to seek to limit the extent to which these rules can be treated as part of the 
law of the United States. See, for example, Curtis A. Bradley and Jack L. Gold- 
smith, "Customary International Law as Federal Common Law: A Critique of the 
Modern Position," Harvard Law Review 1 10, no. 4 (1997), p. 815. 

5 As happens within the United States, governmental policies in Europe do not always 
reflect the views or the advice given bv international lawyers. European states' foot- 
dragging on complying with WTO rulings on bananas and beef hormones, for 

Legal unilateralism 203 

example, have drawn criticism from European international trade lawyers commit- 
ted to the efficacy or legitimacy of the WTO. See, for example, "Speech by Pascal 
Lamy, European Commissioner for Trade at the Netherlands Confederation of 
Industry and Employers," Rapid, October 17, 2000. 

6 See, for example, Letter to the Editor, The Guardian, March 7, 2003, http://www. 
guardian.couk/letters/story/0,3604,909275,00.html. In this open letter to 10 
Downing Street, 16 prominent international law professors, including all but one of 
those presently teaching at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, the London 
School of Economics, and University College London, argued that the use of mili- 
tary force against Iraq in the absence of explicit Security Council authorization 
would violate interna iw of the UN. Charter. 

7 See, for example, Anne-Marie Slaughter, "Good Reasons for Going around the 
UN.," New Fork Times, March 18, 2003, p. A33; W. Michael Reisman, "Assessing 
Claims to Revise the Laws of War," American Journal of International Law 97, no. 1 
(2003), p. 82; Ruth Wedgwood, "Strike at Saddam Now," National Law Journal, 
October 28, 2002; Michael F. Glennon, "Why the Security Council Failed," Foreign 
Affairs 82, no. 3 (May-June 2003), p. 16. See also Paul Schott Steven, Andru E. WaU, 
and Ata Dinlenc, "The Just Demands of Peace and Security: International Law and 
the Case against Iraq" (The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies 
White Papers: 2003),— 
web.pdf. For a defense of the L T .S. war on the Taliban against European skeptics, see 
Thomas M. Franck, "Terrorism and the Right of Sell-Defense," American Journal of 
International Law 95, no. 4 (2001), p. 839. For reflection of the prevailing public senti- 
ments in the U.S., see, "Iraq and International Law." Washington Times, March 14, 
2003, p. A22. 

8 For discussion of these disputes over US. treaty practices, see, for example, David 
M. Malone and Yuen Foong Khong, eds., Unilateralism and U.S. Foreign Policy 
(Boulder, CO and London: Lynne Rienner, 2003), particularly chapters by David 

hong, Nico Krisch, and Rosemary Foot. 

9 See, for example, Douglass W Cassel, "Ignorin»" the World Court," Chicago Daily 
Line Bulletin, 10 January 2002, p. 6; Soering v. United Kingdom, European Court of 
Human Rights, 161 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A), 1 1 E.H.R.R. 439 (1989); European Par- 
liament, "European Parliament Resolution on the Detainees in Guantanamo Bay," 
PE 313.865, 
pdf; Patrick Jarreau, "Les Etats-Unis confrontes aux demandes d'explications offi- 
cielles d'une demi-douzaine de pays," Le Monde, May 21, 2003. U.S. actions in 
defiance of the World Court have led Europeans and others to renew their doubts 
concerning the United States' commitment to the peaceful settlement of disputes. 
Such doubts had been expressed a decade earlier in reaction to the United States' 
refusal to participate in the merits stage of the Nicaragua case before the ICJ and its 
subsequent termination of participation in that Court's Optional Clause. See, for 
example, General Assembly of the United Nations, "Judgment of the International 
Court of Justice of 27 June 1986 Concerning Military and Paramilitary Activities in 
and against Nicaragua: Need for Immediate Compliance," G.A. Res. A/Res/43/1 1, 
October 25, 1988. 

10 See, for example, "European Union: Demarches Protesting the Cuban Liberty and 
Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act," reprinted in International Legal Materials 35, 
no. 2 (1996), p. 397; Monica Serrano, "Unilateralism, multilateralism, and U.S. drug 
diplomacy in Latin America," in Malone and Khong, eds., Unilateralism and U.S. ro/icr. p. 117; Pierre-Marie Dupuy, "The Place and Role of Unilateralism in 
Contemporary International Law," European Journal of International Law 11, no. 1 
(2000), pp. 26-7; Vera Gowlland-Debbas, "The Limits of Unilateral Enforcement of 
Cmnmunitv Objectives in the Framework of U.N. Peace Maintenance," European 
Journal of International Law 11, no. 2 (2000), p. 361. 

204 Jose E.Alvarez 

11 See, for example, "Russia, Fraiicc. Germany Nay Iraq War Illegal," Reuters, March 
20, 2003, Joantha Freed- 
land, "Patten Lays into Bush's America: Fury at President's 'Axis of Evil' Speech," 
fin (,/iardiaii, February 9, 2002, Guardian homepages, p. 1; "French FM Renews 
Attack on U.S. Foreign Policy." _1,»™<< Fit nice J'icsm: March 1, 2002. 

12 See, general!- ne. "A Decade of U.S. Unilateralism?" in Malone and 
Khong, eds., Unilateralism and U.S. Foreign Policy, p. 19; Per Magnus Wijkman, "U.S. 
Trade Policy: Alternative Tacks or Parallel Tracks?" in ibid., p. 251; Ramesh 
Thakur, "U.N. Peace Operations and U.S. Unilateralism and Multilateralism," in 
ibid., p. 153. See also Erika de Wet. "Human Rights Limitations to Economic 
Enforcement Measures Under Article 1 of the L'nited Nations Charter and the Iraqi 
Sanctions Regime," Leiden Journal of International Law 14, no. 2 (2001), p. 277. 

13 See, generally, documents available at 
issuesl422.html (over 30 statements submitted by representatives of various nations 
and the accompanying chart prepared by the NGO coalition for the ICC document 
the widespread opposition to relevant U.S. proposals at the Security Council: "State- 
ments Made or Endorsed at the Open Meeting of the Security Council Discussion of 
the U.N. Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 10, 2002"). 

14 For an explanation of the deepening European commitment to enforcing inter- 
national human rights within Europe that relies on "liberal" theory, see Andrew 
Moravcsik, "The Origins of Human Rights Regimes: Democratic Delegation in 
Postwar Europe," International Organizations 54, no. 2 (2000), p. 217. 

15 See Robert O. Keohaue. "hi lions and International Law: Two 
Optics," Harvard International Law Journal 38, no. 2 (1997), p. 487; Alexander Wendt, 
"Constructing International Politics," International Security 20, no. 1 (1995), p. 5. 

16 See, for example, Dupuy, "The Place and Role," p. 22; Gowlland-Debbas, "The 
Limits of Unilateral Enforcement," p. 361; Philippe Sands, "'Unilateralism', Values, 
and International Law," European Journal of ' Inlmiuliumd L/m- 1 1, no. 2 (2000), p. 249. 
See also Bruno Simma, "From Bilateralism to Community Interest in International 
Law," Recueildes Cows 250, no. 6 (1994), p. 217. 

17 Dupuy, "The Place and Role," p. 23. 

18 Ibid., pp. 23-4 (citing as specific examples international rules such as those banning 
reprisals and unilateral denunciations of treaties). For Dupuy, international law 
requires states to seek in good faith to find through dialogue a solution compatible 
with the interests of all states concerned. "It obliges them . . . where cooperation and 
negotiation structures have been opened to them through treaties and the ci 
international institutions, to have recourse to these norms and these n 
pain of incurring, if they are ignored, international liability vis-a-vis the states con- 
cerned" (p. 24). 

19 Ibid., p. 25. 

20 Ibid., pp. 26-9; Francesco Francioni, "Multilateralism a la Carte: The Limits to Uni- 
lateral Withholdings of Assessed Contributions to the UN. Budget." Limipam Journal 
oj International Law 1 1, no. 1 (2000), p. 43; Sands, "Unilateralism," pp. 298-300. 

21 Gowlland-Debbas, "The Limits of Unilateral Enforcement," pp. 327-77. While she 
acknowledged that the doctrine of implied powers has been used to justify General 
Assembly initiatives when the Security t Council is paralyzed (through the Uniting for 
Peace Resolution), she argued that the raison d'etre for that exception did not apply to 
individual state action. While the General Assembly could rely upon a telcological 
and evolutionary approach to Charter interpretation since this was needed to 
expand "the collective competence of the United Nations in the face of restrictive 
assertions of sovereignty by member states," the implied powers doctrine was "not 
intended to be used for a reactionary purpose, i.e., reversion to a sovereign unfet- 
tered right on the part of one or several states to usurp Council powers" (p. 374). 

22 Ibid., p. 378. 

Legal unilateralism 205 

23 See, generally, Jose E. Alvarez. "Multilateralism and Its Discontents," European 
Journal < if International Law 1 1. no. 2 (2000'), p. 393 (questioning the value, legitimacy 
or efficacy of a number of multilateral initiatives). 

24 W. Michael Reisman, "Unilateral Action and die Transformations of the World 
Constitutive Process: The Special Problem of Humanitarian Intervention," European 
Journal of International Law 1 1, no. 1 (2000), p. 5, n. 2. 

25 Ibid., pp. 14-15. 

26 Ruth Wedgwood, "Unilateral Action in the U.N. System," European Journal of Inter- 
national Law 11, no. 2 (2000), pp. 352-9. 

27 Ibid., p. 352. 

28 Ibid., p. 356. 

29 Ibid., pp. 357-9. 

30 Allan Gerson, "Multilateralism a la Carte: The Consequences of Unilateral 'Pick and 
Pay' Approaches," European Journal of International Law 11, no. 1 (2000), p. 61; Kenneth 
Anderson, "The Ottawa Convention Banning Landmines, the Role of International 
Non-Govcmn: ions and the Idea of International Civil Socictv." Euro- 
pean Journal of International Law 11, no. 1 (2000), p. 91. For completely different 
European reactions to these issues, see Francesco Francioni, "Multilateralism a la 
Carte: The Limits to Unilateral \\ idilmldings," p. 43; Peter Malanczuk, "The Inter- 
national Criminal Court and Landmines: What Are the Consequences of Leaving the 
U.S. Behind?" European Journal of International Law 1 1, no. 1 (2000), p. 77. 

31 James C. Hathaway, "America, Defender of Democratic Legitimacy?" European 
Journal of International Law 1 1, no. 1 (2000), pp. 127—31. Hathaway argues that the 
Yale School approach "is too readily exploited by powerful states anxious to disguise 
their particularistic agendas" :pp. 128-9:. Note thai while Hathaway is correct that 
the Yale School approach has had a singular importance in U.S. legal academia, 
many of those trained in its methods, such as Richard Falk and Oscar Schachter, 
have been anything but apologists for U.S. government policies. See also Gowlland- 
Debbas. "The Limits of Unilateral Enforcement," p. 380 (expressing a preference for 
the "pure theory of law" over more open-ended sociological exercises focused on 

32 See, generally, "Symposium on Method in International Law," American Journal of 
International Law 93, no. 2 (1999), p. 291 (surveying several of these iiiterdi.sciplinary 
approaches). For an introduction to the predominant European "positivist" 
approach to international law, see Bruno Simrna and Andreas L. Paulus, "The 
Responsibility of Individuals for 1 1 alliets: A Posi- 
tivist View," American Journal of International Law 93, no. 2 (1999), p. 302. 

33 See, for example, David Kennedy, "The Disciplines of International Law and 
Policy," Leiden Journal of International Law 12 (1999), pp. 9, 26. 

34 See, for example, Paul W. Kahn, "Speaking Law to Power: Popular Sovereignty, 
Human Rights, and the New International Order," Chicago Journal of International Law 
l,no. 1 (2000), p. 3. 

35 See ibid., pp. 4, 18. The first and second explanations presented in the text may be 
complementary. It may not be an accident that the Yale School of International Law- 
is premised on eight fundamental human values (power, enlightenment, wealth, well- 
being, skill, affection, respect, and rectitude) that coincide with the goals of both the 
U.S. Constitution and the internal . n. Sec Siegfried \\ic-;s- 
ner and Andrew R. Willard, "Policy-Oriented Jurisprudence and Human Rights 
Abuses in Internal Conflict: Toward a World Public Order of Human Dignity," 
American Journal of International Law 93, no. 2 (1999), pp. 318-19. 

36 See Kahn, "Popular Sovereignty," p. 4. 

37 See Reisman, "Unilateral Anion in the U.N. System," p. 6. 

38 See Alvarez, "Multilateralism and Its Discontents," p. 394. For a concrete example, 
it by Gowlland-Debbas, "The Limits of Unilateral Enforcement." 

206 Jose E.Alvarez 

39 It would not. of course, explain other members of the "coalition of the willing," such 

40 Civil-law principles regarding the formation of contract may require those negotiat- 
3 respect precontractual obligations, including an obligation to 

3 negotiate in good faith. In civil-law countries, parties may be found 
liable for failure to conclude a contract. See Arthur von Mehren and James Russell 
Gordley, Vie Civil Law System (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1977), pp. 834-48. 
This may explain why European international lawyers see the duty to cooperate to 
conclude international contracts (namely treaties) as so fundamental. It may also 
explain their adverse reaction when the U.S. participates in an international negoti- 
ation, as it often does, yet fails to adhere to the treaty ultimately negotiated or WTO 
decisions such as Shrimp/Turtle which find U.S. unilateral measures unlawful in 
part because the United States failed to engage in international negotiations which 
might produce more mutually cooperative solutions. For a survey of divergent regu- 
latory trends between Europe and the United States in a number of legal areas, see 
Daniel C. Esty and Damien Geradin, eds., Regulatory Competition and Economic Integra- 
tion (Oxford: Oxford University Press: 2001). 

41 John R. Bolton, "Is There Reullv Law' in Iniernalional Affairs?" Transnational Law 
and Contemporary Problems 10, no. 1 (2000), p. 1. 

42 Ibid., pp. 43-8. See also Bolton, "Unsign that Treaty," Washington Post, January 4, 
2001, p. A21. 

43 See, for example, Karen J. Alter, Establishing the Supremacy of European Law (New York: 
Oxford University Press, 2001); Ernst-Ulrich Petersmann, "Constitutionalism and 
International Adjudication: How to Constitutionalize the U.N. Dispute Settlement 
System?" NYU Journal of International Law and Politics 31, no. 4 (1999), p. 753. 

44 See, generally, A.H. Robertson and J.G. Merrills, Human Rights in Europe: A Study of 
the European Convention on Human Rights, 4th edition (Manchester: Manchester Univer- 
sity Press, 2001); J.G. Merrills, The Development of International Law by the European Court 
of Human Rights, 2nd edition (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1993). 

45 They would explain why the European Parliament, and not just European aca- 
demics, has, for example, deplored U.S. bilateral agreements to get around the 
jurisdiction of the ICC or why that body has gone out of its way to affirm the applica- 
tion of international humanitarian law for prisoners held in Guantanamo. 

46 See Jose E. Alvarez, "Do Liberal States Behave Better? A Critique of Slaughter's 
Liberal Theory," European Journal of International Law 12, no. 2 (2001), pp. 220-3. 

47 See, for example, Jonathan Fenby, "Interpol Asked to Probe Chirac Dealings with 
Saddam Regime," The Business, May 4, 2003, p. 10 (suggesting France ignored 
aspects of the LJ.N. sanctions regime). And Europeans, like Americans, have not 
given direct effect to many of their international legal commitments outside of those 
undertaken within the European Union. 

48 Abram Chayes and Antonia Chayes, The New Sovereignty (Boston, MA: Harvard Uni- 
versity Press, 1995), p. 27. 

49 Ibid. 

50 See, for example, Oren Gross and Fionnuala Ni Aolain, "From Discretion to 
Scrutiny: Revisiting the Application of the Margin of Appreciation Doctrine in the 
Context of Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights," Human Rights 
Quarterly 23, no. 3 (2001), p. 625. See also Oren Gross and Fionnuala Ni Aolain, 
"Emergency, War and International Law — Another Perspective," Nordic journal »/ 
International Law 70, no. 1 (2001), p. 29. 

51 See Al Odah v. United States, 321 F3d, p. 1134 (D.C. Cir. 2003) (finding that non- 
resident aliens held by the LJ.S. at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base had no Con- 
stitutional rights); "Response of the United States to Request for Precautionary 
Measures— Detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, April 15, 2002," reprinted in 

Legal unilateralism 207 

International Legal Materials 41, no. 4 (2002), p. 1015 (contending that the Inter- 
American Commission on Human Rights lacked competence to examine U.S. 
actions in Guantanamo and also asserting that the Third Geneva Convention does 
not apply to its detainees there). But see Ruth Wedgwood, "Al Qaeda, Terrorism, 
and Military Commissions," American Journal of International Law 96, no. 2 (2002), 
p. 328 (defending the international legality of military commissions). 

52 See, for example, Gross and Ni Aolain, "From Discretion to Scrutiny." 

53 American Sciviicmimbn^ Piotution Act, Public Law no. 107-206 sections 2001-15, 116 
Statute 820 (2002), Section 2008a. As might be expected, concerns over this act 
(informally known as the "Hague Invasion Act"). in< : \ it U.S. threat 
to invade the Netherlands, were expressed by that government as well as by the 
I'jui'i ipcan Parliament. 

54 Human Rights Act of 1998, U.K. Statute 1998, Chapter 42 (incorporating European 
Convention of Human Rights as domestic law). By comparison, note the efforts of 
Professors Curtis A. Bradley and Jack L. Goldsmith (see note 4) as well as the inter- 
vention by the U.S. Justice Department in a prominent human rights case before a 
federal court. See "Brief for the United States as Amicus Curiae," in John Doe v. 
Unocal, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, May 2003. 

55 Compare the reaction of the U.S. -based NGO Public Citizen. See, for example, 
"NAFTA Chapter 1 1 Invcstoi -to-State Cases: Bankrupting Democracy," Public 
Citizen, September 2001, 

56 Thus, while Europeans are no strangers to the basic sovereignty concerns raised by 
John liolion. their constitutional courts have carved out fundamental constitutional 
rights that are not subject to supranational negotiation. They have also built supra- 
national institutions capable of providing some forms of democratic accountability. 
such as the European Parliament. See, generally, Eric Stein, "International Integra- 
tion and Democracy: No Love at Fust Sight." American Journal of International Law 95, 
no. 3 (2001), p. 489. Indeed, it is precisely because Europeans have not fully solved 
their accountability and democracy complaints within the E.U. — because the E.U. 
has not yet jelled into a fully fledged single nation but remains a supranational struc- 
ture with authority over sovereign states — that European integrative processes still 
hold lessons for general international law. 

57 See, for example, Kahn, "Popular Sovereignty," p. 3. 

58 It also generated European disdain for U.S. complaints during the Iraqi conflict that 
the Iraqis were not respecting the laws of war. See, for example, "Pas d'Interview," 
Le Monde, March 26, 2003, http://www.lemonde.fh 

59 See Erika de Wet and Andre Nollakemper, "Review of Security Council Decisions 
by National Courts," German Yearbook of International Lin: 15 '2002), p. 166 (discussing 
problems with the Council's counter-terrorism efforts). 

60 Even when European governments, for their own reasons, acquiesce in these 
Council actions, they have an incentive to present these issues to their constituencies 
as actions taken or demanded by the hegemon, thereby enhancing widespread per- 
ceptions that the United States is a unilateralist bully. 

61 See, generally, Martti Koskenniemi, "The Police in the Temple," European Journal of 
International Law 6, no. 3 (1995), p. 325. 

62 See Gerry Simpson, Unequal Sovereigns: Great Powers and Outlaw States in the International 
L-gal Order London: ( ambridge University Press, forthcoming January 2004). 

63 See, generally, Jules Lobel and Michael Ratner, "Bypassing the Security Council: 
Ambiguous Authorizations to Use Force, Cease-fires and the Iraqi Inspection 
Regime," American Journal of International Law 93, no. 1 (1999), p. 124; de Wet and 
Nollakemper, "Review"; Philip Alston, "The Security Council and Human Rights: 
Lessons to be Learned from the Iraq-Kuwait Crisis and its Aftermath," Australian 
Year Book of International Law 13 (1992), p. 107. 

208 Jose E.Alvarez 

64 See, for example, Lobel and Ratner, "Bypassing the Security Council," pp. 151-2 
(discussing how U.S.-U.K. attempts to secure Council autliori/alion to use force 
against Iraqi targets failed in late 1997 and early 1998 due to widespread opposition 
from other members of the Council, leading to U.S. arguments that specific Council 
authorization or a finding of "material breach" was unnecessary). 

10 Tactical multilateralism 

U.S. foreign policy and crisis 
management in the Middle East 

Bruce D. Jones 1 

In the first decade of this century, the Middle East and neighboring regions 
emerged as a key battleground for what has become the central political war of 
the day: the use of U.S. power and its relationship with existing multilateral 
instruments. The collapse of the Middle East peace process, the September 1 1 
terrorist attacks on the United States, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq 
have challenged both U.S. and international perceptions of threat, security, and 
order. In turn, the responses to these events have been influenced by the result- 
ing debates. 

U.S. actions in this arena have been attacked from a number of angles, but 
nowhere more sharply than on the question of unilateralism. These attacks built 
to a crescendo following the repudiation of the Kyoto treaty, the Comprehen- 
sive Test Ban Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention review conference, 
and similar measures. As John Van Oudenaren has noted, "unilateralism has 
emerged as the most contentious issue in U.S.-European relations." 2 

More recently, Security Council deliberations over whether to authorize U.S.- 
led military action against Iraq, i.e. the debate over a putative "second 
resolution," became ideological and shrill, veering between competing exaggera- 
tions of the role of the U.N., and between competing idealistic accounts of the 
nature of U.S. power. In the face of American pundits who drew caricatures of 
U.N. negligence and appetite for appeasement that verged on black helicopter 
imagery, European politicians defended a U.N. whose role was so central and 
record so spotless that it was unrecognizable to anyone who had worked at the 
UN. or studied its performance. While U.S. neo-conservatives described a role 
for American power that was both extraordinarily expansive and utterly benign, 
politicians, commentators, and populations from Europe, the Arab world, and 
elsewhere began to perceive U.S. actions as the greatest threat to world stability. 

This battle between straw men and blind men obscured more than it has 
revealed about the sources of U.S. foreign policy in Iraq and the Middle East, 
or the role of the U.N. and multilateral action in that policy. The record reveals 
a more variegated picture of forms of engagement by the U.S. with multilateral 
institutions, allied powers, and regional actors in the implementation of its 
Middle East policy. In terms of decision-making, the evidence suggests that 
U.S. decisions concerning the use or avoidance of multilateral ii 

210 Bruce D.Jones 

managing conflicts and crises in the Middle East stem neither from an ideologi- 
cal aversion to the U.N. or similar bodies nor from an ethical commitment to 
them. Rather, they are primarily tactical. Moreover, the evidence suggests that 
multilateral instruments work effectively only when they balance core principles 
with a constructive relationship with U.S. power. 

Furthermore, the record reveals that the degree of multilateralism in any 
given U.S. policy is not a predictor of the degree of U.S. engagement, of the 
ethical content of that policy, or of real international support for the policy 
objective. Compared to the record of its immediate predecessor, the George 
W. Bush administration has in fact worked more with multilateral organizations 
and with key partners in managing crises in Israel-Palestine, Afghanistan, and 
Iraq. Yet there are a number of real problems in the administration's Middle 
East policy: the limitations on American engagement in the Israeli-Palestinian 
conflict; the administration's conception of the role of U.S. power in stimulating 
domestic and democratic reform in the Arab world, evidence for which is 
greater than the administration's opponents would concede but is less than por- 
trayed; the confusing messages from Washington about the uses of U.S. power; 
and many elements of the Iraq policy. But the pros or the cons of the policy lie 
not in whether the approach is unilateral or multilateral, for the form of 
engagement does not particularly shape the nature of policy. Criticisms of the 
administration's unilateralism often elide the real problems of policy. 

This chapter explores the multilateral component of U.S. foreign policy in 
the Middle East. To set the stage for discussion, it briefly reviews the concept of 
multilateralism as a tactical rather than ethical concept. It then focuses on the 
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, comparing and contrasting in more detail the 
approaches of the Clinton and current Bush administrations. It then looks 
briefly at the relationship between U.S. power and multilateral instruments, 
particularly the U.N., in the context of the war in Afghanistan and in the 
debate that preceded the start of war with Iraq. 

This chapter concludes with an initial assessment of the impact of recent 
U.S. foreign policy decisions on the Middle East and on the multilateral instru- 
ments themselves. In some areas. Bush's Middle East policy has strengthened 
the hand of multilateral actors, in others weakened it. In between, the multilat- 
eral actors — the organizations themselves, and their key state backers — have 
inflicted some major wounds on themselves. The combination has clearly weak- 
ened the U.N., the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the 
European Union (E.U.), but probably less than has been claimed. Meanwhile, 
the impact of U.S. policy on the lives of citizens in the Middle East and the 
security of their states may be profound. 

Multilateralism as a tactical concept 

The period between the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 1 1 , 
2001 and the end of the U.S. war to overthrow Iraqi President Saddam Hussein 
saw an intense doctrinal debate in and around the U.S. administration about 

'Incticnl multilateralism 2 1 1 

the nature and use of its power. The central questions are: to what extent 
should the U.S. use its overwhelming military power to project U.S. ideals and 
objectives overseas, especially democratic ideals (the so-called William Kristol/ 
Paul Wolfowitz doctrine)? Should the U.S. use its capacities to pre-empt poten- 
tial attacks against its soil from rogue regimes, terrorist groups, or the potential 
nexus between them (the so-called Condoleezza Rice doctrine)? And should the 
U.S. military be deployed only in formations of overwhelming force (the so- 
called Colin Powell doctrine) or in more lean, more flexible — and therefore 
more readily and more frequently deployable — formations (the so-called 
Donald Rumsfeld doctrine)? A secondary debate is whether, or under what cir- 
cumstances and to what extent, to work in coalitions of the willing or through 
multilateral institutions such as NATO and the U.N. 

Outside the administration, and particularly in Europe, this secondary debate 
has been primary. The reason for the difference in relative order between U.S. 
approaches to the multilateral/unilateral mixture and the European/Russian 
approach is obvious: so long as the U.S. decides to work in a multilateral frame- 
work, rather than primarily in a unilateral one, Europeans and Russians (and 
others beyond) will have a voice in the "where," "when," and "how" of U.S. 
power projection. Thus winning the debate over process and form is critical to 
remaining part of the deeper discussion about U.S. power — the central ingredi- 
ent, by common consent, in international order or disorder. 

The European emphasis on multilateralism for its own sake has its corollary 
in a growing chorus of American voices (more outside the administration than 
in it) stressing the importance of unilateralism for its own sake. In this concep- 
tion of U.S. power — voiced primarily by such figures as William Kristol and 
Richard Perle and principally associated with conservative think tanks like the 
American Enterprise Institute and the Hoover Institution and "do tanks" like 
the Lexington Institute — unilateralism has a value in its own right as a means of 
demonstrating the scale of U.S. power. Even if multilateral instruments such as 
the U.N. and NATO are disposed to assist the U.S. in achieving its foreign 
policy objectives, their assistance could be seen as detrimental. Only the unvar- 
nished projection of U.S. power has the necessary potential demonstration 
effect to scare "rogue" actors into altering their behavior. 

In U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East (and more broadly toward the 
Arab and Islamic worlds), neither the ethical multilateralism of the Europeans 
nor the ideological unilateralism of the American Enterprise Institute has been 
in evidence. Rather, the record suggests a "tactical multilateralism." With some 
exceptions, the record is one of use of multilateral instruments when they help 
achieve U.S. goals, tolerance for multilateral approaches where they do not 
impede U.S. objectives, and avoidance of multilateral institutions when they 
threaten to constrain U.S. policy. As Stewart Patrick, International Affairs 
Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, has put it: "The question of 
whether U.S. interests are best served by going it alone or with others has no 
general answer: it depends on the issue and the stakes, the policies of others, 
and the feasibility of collective action." 3 

212 Bruce D.Jones 

Patrick's analysis of U.S. interests and multilateralism provides the concep- 
tual framework for this chapter. In recent essays and through a two-volume 
edited collection of papers on multilateralism and unilateralism, he has articu- 
lated a conception of multilateralism grounded in an analysis of U.S. interests. 
He has reviewed the ethical and moral arguments made in favor of and against 
multilateralism and concluded that "discussion of these questions has been more 
polemical than analytical." As he notes, "Each side has claimed the moral high 
ground, bundling distinct normative assertions into rival prudential arguments 
while failing to acknowledge the principled nature of the opposition's argu- 
ments." 4 Moreover, he notes that both sides tend to associate the 
multilateral/unilateral debate with distinct conceptions of the content of alter- 
native policies (in his discussion, Patrick uses "strategies" in the way that I use 
"tactics," as means to an end, as distinct from the end itself): 

Liberals tend to link multilateral strategies with internationalist or cos- 
mopolitan aims, unilateral strategies with nationalist ones. Typically, they 
also accord multilateralism greater normative value, considering uni- 
lateralism prima facie morally suspect and bemoaning departures from 
collective action. 

In fact, the relationship between aims and strategies is not so straight- 
forward. A state may act alone to advance cosmopolitan goals, for instance, 
just as it may exploit cooperation for narrow national objectives. Likewise, 
the ethical status of unilateralism cannot be judged without additional 
information about the nature of the foreign policy challenge, the aims 
being pursued, and the prospects for collective action. 5 

The multilateral/unilateral issue thus arises in U.S. foreign policy decision- 
making as a question of tactical options. For example, the administration did 
not go to the U.N. to deliberate whether or not disarmament of Iraq was 
among its goals, nor even as a means of deciding whether war, the threat of 
war, or some alternative like inspections was the appropriate strategy for dis- 
arming Iraq. Rather, the U.S. had essentially decided to go to war with Iraq 
prior to going to the U.N., and took a tactical decision that collective authoriza- 
tion would enhance legitimacy of U.S. actions and thus facilitate their 

The Clinton era: engaged unilateralism 

President William J. Clinton's deep engagement in the Middle East peace 
process had its roots in that of his predecessor, President George H.W. Bush, 
whose foreign policy team took advantage of the turbulence that followed the 
1 99 1 Gulf war to launch a new political initiative vis-a-vis Israel and its Arab 
neighbors. The Madrid process launched in 1992 officially had two co-sponsors, 
the U.S. and the Soviet Union, but in practice U.S. Secretary of State James 
baker was its main facilitator. 6 The terms of reference for the Madri 

Tactical multilateralism 2 1 3 

stipulated that negotiations, though held in what amounted to a bilateral format, 
were to be based on a key multilateral agreement, namely Security Council 
Resolution 242. The U.N. itself was not a participant at the talks, the Secretary- 
General being invited only to observe the proceedings, along with the European 
Union. This exclusion of the U.N. was predicated on a specific agreement on 
the subject between Israel and the U.S. 

The election of Bill Clinton in 1992 brought a hiatus to presidential peace- 
making activity in the Middle East. As the Brookings Institution scholar William 
Quandt has noted, a recurrent phenomenon that bedevils Middle East peace 
efforts is the tendency for incoming presidents to break with their predecessor's 
policy, and to take a pause before eventually being drawn into Arab-Israeli 
negotiations. But after a long initial hiatus, the Clinton era was characterized by 
a steady deepening of engagement up until 2000 when it became commonplace 
in Middle East policy circles to refer to President Clinton as the "Middle East 
desk officer." 7 The creation of a "peace team," led throughout the period by 
U.S. Special Middle East Coordinator Dennis Ross (who also had served under 
the first President Bush), to engage in virtually full-time Arab-Israeli negotia- 
tions, represented a significant commitment to reaching a breakthrough. 

However, Clinton's policy was characterized also by a strong insistence on 
U.S. leadership, and at best a fluctuating engagement with allies and multi- 
lateral institutions. For the most part, U.S. policy in the period, actively 
supported by Israel, was to keep any third party actor other than the U.S. out of 
any negotiations. Of course, the first major political breakthrough of the era, the 
Oslo Accords, occurred under Norwegian sponsorship and with no U.S. 
involvement. So important was U.S. backing to those Accords, however, that 
the decision was taken by the Norwegian sponsors of the deal to ask the U.S. 
President to host the signing ceremony at the White House — a meeting that 
resulted in the now famous handshake between Israeli President Yitzhak Rabin 
and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. 8 

Notwithstanding the Norwegian role in Oslo, in the formal negotiating ses- 
sions that occurred during the 1990s, from Sharm el-Sheikh to the Hebron 
Agreements to Wye River to Camp David in July 2000, participation was 
strictly trilateral: U.S., Israeli, Palestinian. A variety of countries, including 
Canada and Sweden, hosted informal talks between Israelis and Palestinians but 
were never brought into formal negotiations. Formal negotiations during the 
Clinton period followed the Carter-Kissinger formula: U.S. leadership, advance 
consultations between the U.S. and Israel, and trilateral negotiations. At no 
stage of formal negotiations on final status issues did the U.S. deviate from this 
pattern. 9 

At times the U.N., the European Union (E.U.), and regional states (particu- 
larly Jordan and Egypt) played more active roles in coordination with U.S. 
efforts. Three episodes illustrate this: Israel's withdrawal from southern 
Lebanon, which was partially orchestrated, actively monitored, and formally 
certified by the U.N.; negotiations over the final status of the Temple Mount, 
after Camp David II, during which Israeli Prime Minister Barak requested 

214 Bruce D.Jones 

U.N. engagement and expressed a willingness to explore U.N. solutions to the 
Temple Mount question; and the Sharm el-Sheikh Summit in October 2000, a 
summit designed to secure a halt in violence (which broke out in late September 
2000), which brought together President Clinton, President Hosni Mubarak of 
Egypt, King Hussein of Jordan, E.U. High Representative Javier Solana and 
Barak and Arafat, all at the initiative, and with the active participation, of the 
U.N. Secretary-General. 

However, in the final status negotiations that followed the Sharm el-Sheikh 
episode, the Clinton administration once again returned to the trilateral format. 
Trilateral consultations were held in the period October-December 2000, and 
were used to prepare a series of peace proposals. Those proposals were then 
launched by President Clinton alone in December 2000. The mode was illustra- 
tive: Clinton called Barak and Arafat in sequence to Washington and in a closed 
setting read to them his proposals. No international consultations preceded or 
accompanied the launch of the proposals. 

This chapter is not the appropriate place for a full account of the negotia- 
tions that surrounded the Clinton proposals. 10 However, it is worth mentioning 
an argument made at the time in Middle East peace process circles, and subse- 
quently by members of the administration, that Clinton made a tactical error in 
not mobilizing a multilateral coalition, especially vis-a-vis Arafat." Arafat's 
pattern of decision-making shows that he is more likely to act when confronted 
with a broad international coalition than when asked to make decisions solely 
with Americans. (This argument is developed below.) It is at least arguable that 
had Clinton mobilized President Mubarak, the Saudis, the E.U., the U.N. Sec- 
retary-General, and others to join him in a public, coordinated approach, 
Arafat's "wiggle room" would have been significantly reduced. This might have 
led to a firmer public acceptance of the Clinton proposals, establishing them as 
a basis for future negotiations. Whether this would have been a good outcome 
or a bad one depends on one's perspective on the various possibilities for final 
status arrangements. However, many international negotiators, including many 
current U.S. negotiators, believe that the Clinton parameters articulated the 
essential trade-offs and agreements that will ultimately guide a final status 
agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. 12 

The Bush policy: multilateral disengagement 

If Clinton's policy thus was unilateral in its leadership style but inclusive in 
content, President George W. Bush's approach has been the opposite. Without 
question, the Bush administration's Middle East policy has been more multilat- 
eral in its form than his predecessor's. At the same time, major elements of his 
policy have not initially been accepted by other international actors. What is 
notable is that the adoption of a quasi-multilateral format (or at least, the will- 
ingness to engage in sustained consultations with key partners) has greatly 
muted public discord with the Bush policy, regardless of private disagreement — 
in sharp contrast to recent experience vis-a-vis Iraq. 

Tactical multilateralism 2 1 5 

The use of multilateral forums or consultative instruments by the Bush admin- 
istration has two main dimensions: first, engagement with what has become 
known as "the Quartet," a consultative forum within which the U.S., the U.N., 
the E.U., and Russia have coordinated their policies on the Middle East peace 
process; and second, the decision to use the U.N. as a forum to announce a 
major policy shift, that of U.S. support for the establishment of a state of Pales- 
tine. These decisions appear to stem from two sources: an active decision to try to 
shift the center of Middle East gravity away from the Palestinian issue and 
toward Iraq; and the need, in the context of building support for a campaign 
against Saddam Hussein, to quell Arab dissatisfaction with that approach. It also 
constitutes a recognition, argued by Colin Powell but clearly accepted at least in 
part by others within the administration, that by using the Quartet and the U.N. 
the U.S. can both build support for its policy objectives and contain dissent 
against them. 

The roots of the Quartet lie not with a U.S. decision, but rather with a series 
of collective demarches to Arafat comprising the U.N. special coordinator, the 
U.S. consul-general in Jerusalem, the E.U.'s special representative for the 
Middle East, and the Russian special envoy for the Middle East. Together, they 
met with Arafat and demanded that he take a series of steps to arrest persons 
involved in the assassination of Israeli cabinet minister Rehavem Ze'evi, outlaw 
the military wings of a series of organizations involved in terrorism, and declare 
a ceasefire and a renunciation of terrorism. 13 Following a series of consultations, 
the four issued a joint demarche stipulating these demands. Enough of them 
were implemented to create a perception of progress. The Israelis, while clearly 
seeing that Arafat had not made a strategic decision to renounce terror, did 
acknowledge that the collective pressure placed on Arafat by the Quartet had 
resulted in more action than he had previously taken under either Israeli or 
U.S. pressure. 14 While remaining deeply skeptical about the value of Arafat's 
promises and actions, the Israelis agreed to engage the Quartet, which subse- 
quently issued a statement outlining requirements for Israel, and met with 
senior Israeli ministers and representatives of the Prime Minister. In subsequent 
months, the Quartet's activity expanded in scope, and grew to involve not only 
the four special envoys on the ground but also their principals, who met in New 
York, Madrid, and Washington to coordinate their overall approach to the 
crisis. 1 ' 

The acceptance of the Quartet's role inside the Bush administration was 
mixed. The Quartet became associated with Powell. Opponents lobbied not 
only against the content of the Quartet's statements and actions but also against 
the existence of the body itself, arguing that it violated the central tenet of the 
doctrine of U.S. -Israeli coordination prior to the adoption of any negotiating 
position. Particularly in the context of the U.S. -led war on terrorism, any water- 
ing down of this doctrine was seen by some in Washington as injurious to U.S. 
interests in the region. 16 

Nonetheless, the Quartet expanded its scope, engaging in negotiations on 
final status issues, or at least on the method for reaching agreement on them — 

216 Bruce D.Jones 

developing a so-called "Road Map" for a restoration of dialogue, the conclusion 
of a final status agreement, and the establishment of a Palestinian state within 
three years. Though publication of this Road Map was repeatedly delayed by 
the President, in large part on the basis of Israeli concerns, in Aqaba in June 
2003 Bush made a significant personal foray into the Middle East peace process. 
In orchestrating a meeting of Prime Minister Sharon and newly appointed 
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohamed Abbas (also known as Abu Mazen), Bush 
scripted and extracted important stated concessions from both leaders that were 
in line with both U.N. positions and Clinton's parameters (though neither were 

The consultative or mu nsion of the Bush policy was also present 

in the administration's decision to go to the U.N. to announce, in November 
2001, a significant shift in its policy framework for the Middle East, namely 
acceptance of the goal of the establishment of a State of Palestine alongside the 
State of Israel as a central goal of U.S. policy in the Middle East. 1 ' This goal was 
subsequently enshrined in Security Council Resolution 1397, drafted and intro- 
duced by the U.S. 18 It is the implementation of these goals, albeit not quite in the 
sequence Bush suggested, that is the content of the Quartet's Road Map. 

There have been disagreements between the U.S. and the other Quartet 
members, as well as with its key Arab partners (in this context the Egyptians, 
Jordanians, and Saudis). They disagreed on the sequence of steps to be taken in 
the Road Map, and about the tactical merits of publicly calling for Arafat's 
removal from power. This disagreement has been taken by some as constituting 
support among Quartet members for Arafat's continued role, but this is a mis- 
understanding. Rather, the concern among some European and Arab diplomats 
was that indigenous Palestinian reform efforts have been undermined, not rein- 
forced, by U.S. calls for Arafat's ouster. Evidence for this argument can be seen 
in the shift in Arab rhetoric before and after the June 24, 2002 Midde East 
speech given by Bush, which called for Arafat's ouster. Prior to Bush's speech, 
key Arab leaders such as Mubarak were speaking openly about their disappoint- 
ment in Arafat and their belief that he was an obstacle to progress. Afterwards, 
there has been virtual silence on the subject, even from those leaders who most 
virulently oppose his continuing role. At least one effect in the Middle East of 
strong U.S. positions taken in a unilateral format is actually to undermine public 
support for those very policy goals, by compelling Arab leaders to appear to be 
acting in support of U.S., rather than Arab, interests. However, recent progress 
on the reform agenda, in particular the creation of a post of prime minister and 
the appointment to that post of Abu Mazen, can be seen as an important 
instance of reconciliation of these differences: the diplomacy pushing Arafat to 
accept the prime minister position was led by the Quartet, while the U.S. — at 
least in principle — accepted that this appointment constitutes a de facto lessen- 
ing of Arafat's power sufficient to constitute fulfillment of the objectives set out 
in Bush's June speech. 

Thus it is fair to say that the Bush administration has far more actively 
engaged both partners and multilateral institutions, particularly the UN. and 

Tactical multilateralism 217 

the E.U., than did the Clinton administration. In the period prior to the Aqaba 
summit, the lack of Bush's engagement contributed to the inability of diplomatic 
activity to displace the continuing terrorism and violence. But again, there is an 
important separation between the content of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle 
East and the tactical question of its form — unilateral, multilateral, or a varying 
mix of the two, depending on objectives. 

Of course, Bush's acceptance of a Quartet role in shaping negotiations, his 
consultations with allies, his close cooperation with Arab regional actors, and 
his speeches at the U.N. do not constitute a formal multilateralism of the kind 
sometimes advocated by critics of U.S. policy. In the Middle East peacemaking 
process, the U.N. is a junior if active partner, rather than the main forum or the 
principal actor. But then, it rarely has been. In the 1940s, 1960s, and again in 
the 1970s the UN. Secretary-General appointed political mediators to the 
Arab-Israeli theatre, with Security Council backing. But in the wake of the 
U.S. -Israel-Egypt peace deal brokered by Jimmy Carter at Camp David, and 
Arab reaction to that peace (incl lg an agreed U.N. peacekeeping 

force to monitor the settlement), the U.N.'s role in peacemaking in the Middle 
East faltered. 19 Only recently has the U.N. Secretary-General regained a sub- 
stantive role in negotiations. 

Moreover, the Quartet as a multilateral format is significant. The participa- 
tion of the E.U.'s High Representative for Common Foreign and Security 
Policy means that, at least in principle, the entire European Union is engaged. 
The Quartet's consultations with Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia (three of the 
states nominated by the Arab League to follow up on the Saudi peace plan pro- 
mulgated in April 2001) mean that through it the U.S. is consulting not just 
bilaterally with Arab partners but with a grouping of Arab states that represent 
a common Arab position. And the participation of the Secretary-General is sig- 
nificant not only for his personal contribution but also for the symbolic presence 
of the United Nations and a connection and commitment to the core Security 
Council resolutions on the Middle East. He routinely briefs the Council on 
Quartet activities, and the Council has repeatedly endorsed both his role and 
the Quartet's existence and activity. Thus, if not a formal multilateral instru- 
ment per se, it nevertheless represents a significant effort in consultation with 
European and Arab states, and to a certain extent with the Council and the 
broader UN. community. The Bush administration's multilateralism on Middle 
East issues may be tactical rather than formal, but it is nevertheless e 

Multilateral action and reaction: wars in 
Afghanistan and Iraq 

A tactical use of multilateral instruments is also in evidence in U.S. diplomacy 
leading up to the war in Afghanistan, and during that war, and in the lead-up 
to the war in Iraq. In the case of the war with Afghanistan, it is abundantly 
clear that U.S. policy objectives — namely the surrender of the Al Qaeda leader- 
ship to the U.S. by the Taliban regime or the simultaneous destruction of that 

218 Bruce D.Jones 

regime and the Al Qaeda operation in Afghanistan — were set by Washington, 
alone, in the immediate aftermath of the September 200 1 attacks on Washing- 
ton and New York. That those goals attracted broad international support in 
the context of the terrorist attacks, underscored by the rapid passage of Security 
Council Resolution 1337, and NATO's decision to invoke Article 5 of its 
charter, meant that there was a welcoming international framework within 
which the U.S. could work to achieve its objectives. 

U.S. action inside Afghanistan, moreover, followed a growing pattern in the 
1 990s of managing peace enforcement missions, that of U.N. authorization for 
multinational coalitions of the willing rather than direct U.N. operations. 
Similar methods had been used in Haiti, eastern Zaire, and East Timor. The 
U.N.'s main direct involvement came in the form of U.N. Special Envoy 
Lakdhar Brahimi's role, in very close coordination with U.S. Ambassador 
Richard Haass and U.S. Special Envoy Zalmay Khalizad, in orchestrating the 
Bonn Agreements and subsequendy in mounting the UN. Assistance Mission in 
Afghanistan (UNAMA) in support of the Afghan Transitional Authority (ATA). 

There is no space in this chapter to examine U.S. policy in Afghanistan. But 
in terms of the broad argument, two points are important. First, the roles 
played by the UN. — in authorizing U.S. action, in the person of Brahimi, and 
in mounting UNAMA — were actively supported by the U.S. as in its interests 
and were conducted in close coordination with U.S. policy-makers. Second, the 
fact that U.S. policy objectives received broad international support meant that 
this first exercise in the projection of U.S. power in the "war on terrorism" did 
not directly, or at first glance, challenge international order and the multilateral 
mechanisms designed to secure it. But the fact that the U.S. opted to go 
through the UN. en route to Kabul in no way suggests that U.N. decision- 
making shaped the U.S. response. As a senior U.S. congressman put it at a 
meeting organized by the Lexington Institute, "if the U.N. had resisted the U.S. 
war in Afghanistan, there would have been 1 00 votes in the Senate to abrogate 
the San Francisco Treaty." 20 

Strikingly, the Iraq question has elicited not only the current Bush adminis- 
tration's deepest engagement of the world organization and of allies, but also 
the most troubling policies. When President Bush went to the United Nations in 
October 2002 to seek a new resolution on the disarmament of Iraq, he used the 
occasion to stress the U.S. commitment to the U.N. His mission, he argued, was 
to ensure that Security Council resolutions were enforced, and his desire, he 
claimed, was to see a strong and effective world organization. His approach was 
thus couched not in instrumental or tactical but in ethical terms. When the U.S. 
indicated that it might abandon efforts to secure a second resolution on Iraq in 
March 2003, the response by Russia and the key European governments was 
also couched in ethical and legal terms. Only the U.N., it was stressed, has the 
ethical or legal right to sanction war. U.S. action outside of the U.N. would be 
illegal, and would not enjoy the support of the French and German govern- 
ments in particular. 

Between October and March, the November Security Council Resolution 

Tactical multilateralism 2 1 9 

1441 constituted both a significant diplomatic victory for the U.S., and a signifi- 
cant development in terms of international law and norms with relation to 
weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This resolution marked the first time that 
an individual state, regardless of its membership status in relevant U.N. conven- 
tions and treaty bodies, has been barred under international law from possession 
of certain categories of weapons and weapons systems. The deployment of the 
United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission 
(UNMOVIC) may also be seen as an important development in institutional 
capacity to deal with disarmament. 

Both the U.S. and the European presentations of position, however, were 
exaggerated. While Bush may have stated that he was committed to seeing 
strong UN. action in Iraq, his policy objectives were neither set in a context of 
U.N. deliberations nor based on U.N. norms and law. Rather, they were set 
unilaterally on the basis of U.S. interests. The decision to go to the U.N. was 
apparently based on an assessment by Powell and others that it would be possi- 
ble to get a strong resolution in support of U.S. policy objectives, which would 
enhance their legitimacy in the Arab and Muslim worlds where potentially 
allied governments such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey would have an 
easier time with their domestic constituents. In other words, the U.S. made a 
tactical move at the international level to help potential allies in their internal 
tactics. The broad declarations of ethical support for the U.N. were hardly 
credible, given that they had been preceded by months of public rhetoric about 
a probable U.S. war on Iraq and the irrelevance of U.N. authorization. 

But scarcely more credible were Russian and European objections to the 
U.S. approach, which should be viewed in the context of their own tactical 
approach to the U.N. In the 1990s France on several occasions deployed forces 
in Africa without seeking the authorization of the U.N., though in some cases — 
such as in eastern Zaire — the Security Council acted as French troops were in 
motion to "authorize" those deployments. 21 Moreover, France has been instru- 
mental in keeping Algeria, a major human rights crisis, off the U.N.'s agenda 
throughout the 1990s, preferring to maintain its own, unilateral role in handling 
that crisis. Russia has not only insisted on keeping the Chechnya question off 
the Security Council's agenda, and has in its response to Chechnya clearly vio- 
lated U.N. human rights law and international humanitarian law, but has also 
in past instances deployed forces without U.N. authorization. Germany's objec- 
tion to the deployment of force outside the context of U.N. authorization is 
consistent with its Constitution, but its objections to the Iraq policy would have 
been more compelling had they not been forged with clear electoral objectives 
in mind. Moreover, Germany has on important occasions acted unilaterally, 
though not necessarily illegally, in support of its own interests and against those 
of the multilateral forums it claims to support — for example in unilaterally rec- 
ognizing Croatia, in defiance of the European Union. Outside the Security 
Council, the objections of such countries as Turkey were equally suspect, given 
that government's (if not the full parliament's: willingness to support U.S. action 
in exchange for financial and political incentives. In short, all those c 

220 Bruce D. Jones 

that critiqued Bush's unilateralism have also displayed, on issues that raise key 
national interests, precisely the same tactical relationship to the United Nations. 
Moreover, their vote to endorse the U.S. occupation, after a war they opposed, 
was seen by many in the U.N. as firm evidence of their hypocritical relationship 
to the world body. 

Implications of U.S. policy on the Middle East and 
multilateral institutions 

This chapter has probed U.S. foreign policy since September 11, but it has 
done so in a longer historical and comparative context. Two key questions now 
can be answered. Has this false debate over Iraq policy damaged the U.N. or 
the broader multilateral order? Has U.S. policy in the Middle East and, in par- 
ticular, the absence of U.N. authorization for military action in Iraq increased 
or decreased potential stability in the region or otherwise affected the Middle 

Effect on the Middle East 

It is of course far too early to say what the medium- and long-term effects will 
be on the lives of the citizens of the Middle East, on their governments, and 
perhaps particularly on the relationships between the two. Indeed, in each 
aspect of U.S. policy, there is an equally strong case for sharply divergent judg- 
ments about its impact. 

This is true of what must be seen as a core interest of U.S. policy in the 
region, namely Israeli security. 22 Factors potentially increasing Israeli security in 
the region include the removal of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. Even if 
postwar Iraq is unstable and becomes a source of internal conflict, perhaps even 
drawing in regional actors, there is no prima facie reason to believe that this 
decreases Israeli security. Arguably, the opposite case could be made because 
regional competition over control of Iraq and its resources could develop in 
unpredictable ways, some of which are consistent with long-term Israeli security. 
Yet there are at least two factors potentially undermining Israeli security. First, 
the rise in anti-US. sentiment in the Middle East, connected as it is through the 
U.S.-Israeli relationship to anti-Israeli sentiment, is potentially damaging. A 
second factor is the potential for a weakening of Israel-friendly Arab regimes 
(particularly Jordan) as a result of the growing divergence between public atti- 
tudes to the Iraqi and Palestinian issues and those governments' stances. A third 
factor — according to some Israeli security analysts, the most important 23 — is a 
possible beginning of an erosion of the public basis for a long-standing, and 
vital, Israel-Turkey strategic alliance. The gulf between Turkey's military, its 
government, and its population on the Iraq issue may have the effect over the 
medium or long term of narrowing popular tolerance or support for Turkey's 
continued strategic alliance with Israel. U.S. actions in Iraq also create simulta- 
neously a growing risk of further confrontations with Syria and Iran, as well as 

Tactical multilateralism 221 

the possibility that those states will perceive that risk and seek to avoid direct 
confrontation either with the U.S. or with Israel. For example, fears that Iran 
would use the conflict in Iraq to activate the Iranian-backed segments of 
Hezbollah inside Lebanon have so far proved overstated, though tensions 
between the U.S. and Iran have been rising since the end of the war and 
exchanges of fire between Israel and Hezbollah along the Israel-Lebanon 
boundary resumed in August 2003 after a hiatus of almost a year. 24 

A second problematic area is the potential for a peace agreement between 
Israelis and Palestinians. On the one hand, U.S. actions in Iraq can be taken as 
a significant policy victory for those voices within the administration (military 
hawks, Middle East hawks, and the pro-Likud faction of the Israel lobby) that 
sought to de-emphasize the Palestinian question and focus U.S. attention on 
Iraq and Iran. Against those who argued that U.S. actions in Iraq were likely to 
lead to renewed U.S. engagement on the Israeli-Palestinian front, some U.S. 
administration officials stressed that there was no basis for this assumption. 2 ' 
However, President Bush's personal engagement in bringing Sharon and Abu 
Mazen together in Aqaba, and his repeated statements about his personal com- 
mitment to sustained involvement, seemed to herald a new level of U.S. 
commitment to managing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Part of the conception 
among those supporting a new push on the Palestinian issue after the Iraq war 
is that the topp m Hussein's regime has enhanced Israel's security, 

both by removing a direct enemy and by installing a pro-U.S. regime in the 
country in the neighborhood of a potential State of Palestine, but also through 
the "demonstration effect" of the untrammeled and potent use of U.S. power 
on potential challengers to the United States. However, the durability of Bush's 
commitment remains to be demonstrated. 

A third policy issue concerns the greater promotion of Arab democracy. 
Within the Palestinian context, the arena in which the policy of promoting 
democracy in Arab countries has had a short period to play out, the evidence is 
decidedly mixed. Recent conversations with Fatah activists and Palestinian 
Authority/Palestine Lib lization officials suggest that there is some 

reason to believe that the U.S. insistence on freezing the peace process until 
Arafat is removed from power has had the effect of increasing the space avail- 
able to reformists. Simultaneously, the perceived strong bias in Bush's statements 
about Sharon ("a man of peace") versus Arafat have constrained those same 
actors by creating a too-close association in public attitudes between U.S. 
rhetoric and anti-Arafat sentiment, which remains widespread in Palestinian fac- 
tions and communities. Further, it seems clear that a side effect of the policy has 
been to strengthen Hamas's bid to lay claim to leadership in the Palestinian 
national movement. Freezing the peace process made the more moderate tactics 
of alternative movements, such as the moderate wing of Fatah, seem futile, 
easing Hamas's path in mobilization and recruitment. More recently, the strong 
U.S. -Quartet push for Abu Mazen's premiership and for regional support for 
his peacemaking efforts did not produce internal support for Abu Mazen, whose 
poll numbers hovered in single digits. The fact that he was publicly identified by 

222 Bruce D. Jones 

the U.S. as an acceptable counterpart actually tarnished his perception among 
the Palestinian population. At the same time, while not supporting Abu Mazen 
many Palestinians saw him as useful precisely because Israel and the U.S. 
approved of him, meaning that Sharon might have been more willing to deliver. 
Thus U.S. support for Abu Mazen might have been helpful in peace process 
terms, but was unlikely to contribute significantly to the greater democratization 
of Palestinian public life. 

A fourth area is that of U.S. Ar lations. Here, the initial impart 

seems unequivocal: the combination of one-sided public rhetoric on the 
Israeli-Palestinian issue, a hands-off attitude toward the Palestinian crisis, and 
U.S. policy toward Iraq, against a backdrop of long-standing U.S. support for 
unpopular regimes in the Middle East (particularly Egypt and Saudi Arabia), 
has been fueling anti-U.S. sentiment in the region and strengthening the hands 
of extremist Islamic forces. The mishandling of postwar Iraq has added still 
more fuel to these simmering fires. Bush's engagement on the Palestinian ques- 
tion, if sustained, may help; some Arab newspapers (particularly those that are 
government-owned or -influenced) have begun making more positive comments 
about the United States, following Bush's personal commitments made in 
Aqaba. 26 While the endorsement of a few, government-edited newspapers is not 
likely to significantly reshape Arab public opinion, a sustained engagement on 
the Palestinian question would certainly remove from critics one of the most 
important arguments against U.S. foreign policy. 

Indeed, shifts in U.S. policy are likely to be far more significant in altering 
Arab popular perceptions than public relations. On this issue, current U.S. 
policy is arguably operating on a fundamental misconception — namely the 
"public diplomacy" argument that opposition to the U.S. can be challenged by 
more information about U.S. policy. This approach seems to elide the fact that 
Arab newspapers and television stations (whether government-owned or pri- 
vately operated) provide extensive coverage of U.S. policy statements and 
actions. Sometimes this is accompanied by critical commentary. But Arab news- 
papers routinely print the full statements of President Bush and Secretary of 
State Powell (along with those of European leaders and the U.N. Secretary- 
General) for their readers, and these statements are often broadcast in full on 
the main satellite channels. U.S. policy is so out of sync with general Arab atti- 
tudes that these statements need no critical commentary to provoke negative 
reactions in the general public. 

Furthermore, it is important to understand the distinction between Arab 
public opinion about the United States and Arab opinion about U.S. policy. His- 
torically, both anecdotal evidence and polling data suggest a wide variation in 
attitudes between Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt and Jordan (as well 
as among Palestinians), where attitudes have tended to be positive about U.S. 
society and negative about U.S. foreign policy, and Muslim countries outside 
the region like Pakistan where there is a more negative perception of U.S. 
society as a whole. 27 But this may be changing in the aftermath of the Iraq war. 
There were, for example, frequent reports during the war of Jordanian youths 

Tactical multilateralism 223 

castigating their parents for using U.S. products — whereas prior to the war U.S. 
products were very popular among Jordanian youths, even though U.S. policy 
toward the Palestinians and Iraqis was abhorred. An important first step in 
devising a sounder long-term policy will be to generate more precise knowledge 
about the nature of opinion among various Arab and Muslim populations about 
the U.S., its policies, and in particular the relationship between the U.S. and 
their own governments. 28 

Over the longer term, it is questionable whether U.S. policy-making, as cur- 
rently structured, is capable of addressing these issues in a sustained way. The 
U.S. does have some significant assets, namely a highly competent diplomatic 
service in the Middle East, which is greatly respected in Arab capitals; a signifi- 
cant Arab-American community which potentially can serve as a bridge 
between communities; and significant financial resources both to put into its 
policy and communication efforts and, more importantly, to channel into the 
economic development of Arab states. Foreign policy, however, is shaped far 
more by inter-agency interactions in Washington, and by relations between 
Congress and the administration, than it is by reports from U.S. ambassadors or 
the advice of public relations officials. 

In any case, in the longer term Washington will have to pay increasing atten- 
tion to the challenge of its relationship with the Arab and Muslim worlds — both 
the relevant governments, and their populations. Though it is too early to 
discern the long-term impacts of recent U.S. actions, it is possible to speculate 
about how to tackle some of the most salient issues. 

The backdrop is the identification in U.S. defense policy circles of a so-called 
"arc of instability" that encompasses the Middle East, the former Soviet 
republics in the Caucasus, and the predominantly Islamic republics of Central 
Asia, and stretches across to encompass the Islamic parts of southeast Asia, par- 
ticularly Indonesia. 29 The National Defense University identified this "arc of 
instability" as the source of most, if not all, of the major threats. This grand 
strategy conception of the region may be limited to the analytical community, 
and may not wholly shape the conceptualization among U.S. decision-makers — 
who, hke all political decision-makers, tend to approach issues more on a 
crisis-by-crisis basis than in terms of grand strategy. But it suggests a mind-set in 
parts of Washington, which over the long haul may influence U.S. policy and 

In one sense, the Middle East is like all other parts of the world in that since 
the end of the Cold War, and in particular since September 11, the pole of 
gravity around which all foreign policies revolve — and, increasingly, even 
domestic policies — is the relationship with the United States. (During the long, 
uncertain period of vote recounting during the 2000 U.S. presidential election, 
an Arab foreign minister actually asked a U.N. official whether he had any 
inside information about who would win the recount: "We're tired of waiting to 
see who will rule us." 30 ) In particular, foreign policies are increasingly shaped 
by the perceived costs of being on the wrong side of U.S. policy as it relates to 
m" and the perceived benefits of being an ally. However, 

224 Bruce D.Jones 

many of these same states' domestic policies are caught by precisely the oppo- 
site dynamic: the public perception that governments that support U.S. policies 
are "lap-dogs" or are selling out their own publics. This contradiction was very 
much in evidence during the build-up to the war in Iraq, and particularly 
squeezed the moderate Arab governments — who, for foreign policy reasons, 
tended to want to ally themselves with the U.S., albeit discreetly, but were 
under major domestic pressure to resist. 

In short, the scale and nature of U.S. power is such that — particularly, but 
not exclusively, in the Middle East — the U.S. is generating its own opposition. 
Public opposition to the U.S. is squeezing governments, including those with 
which the U.S. might work toward a democratic transformation. What this sug- 
gests is that there will be a growing problem for the U.S. about how it projects 
its power and its policy. Here, multilateral institutions may over time play a 
useful role. The nature of political debate in the Middle East is such that even if 
Arab governments have little choice but to concede to most U.S. demands, the 
act of concession to those demands is one that diminishes the legitimacy of gov- 
ernments in the eyes of their populations, and generates resistance against both 
the demand in question and its source. Thus U.S. pressure for greater liberal- 
ization or democratic reform in any given Arab country may be resisted by 
precisely those groups seeking to move forward on a democratic agenda (as wit- 
nessed during June 2003 in the case of Iran). At the same time, domestic 
reaction to the same message transmitted by a multilateral organization, partic- 
ularly the U.N., will be far more positive and progressive — as occurred in the 
case of the release of the U.N. Development Program's far-sighted Arab Human 
Development Report. n Thus multilateral institutions may be better placed, in the 
Middle East context, to advance agendas shared by the larger community of 
states and the U.S. than Washington acting alone. 

Effect on multilateral institutions 

This raises the question of the relationship between the U.S. and the multilat- 
eral instruments for managing world order, and the question of whether the 
U.N. in particular has been damaged by U.S. policy in the Middle East — as fre- 
quently claimed in the aftermath of the launch of the U.S. war in Iraq. It is 
again too early to say, but some speculation here may also be undertaken. 

On the central question of the impact on the United Nations, I would specu- 
late that damage to the Security Council from U.S. actions and attitudes is 
probably significantly less than has been stated, for five reasons. First, the U.N. 
has been bypassed by the U.S. before, notably in Kosovo, without causing 
grievous damage. Second, in the aftermath of the war the members of the Secu- 
rity Council moved rapidly to return to consensus — through the unanimous 
vote in favor of the U.S. and U.K. resolution on the oil-for-food program in 
March 2003, and in the 14-0 vote (with Syria absent, but later supporting) in 
favor of Resolution 1438 which endorsed the U.S. and U.K. occupation forces 
as the legal, interim authority in Iraq. Third, it is worth paying a 

Tactical multilateralism 225 

noticeable shift in Bush's rhetoric about the U.N., from his early references to 
the League of Nations and irrelevance should the U.N. not choose to endorse 
his policy on Iraq, to his Azores speech reference to an effort, after the Iraq 
war, to reform the U.N. and enhance its effectiveness. This shift suggests that 
Bush's policy and that of the administration will not be to scrap the U.N. but 
rather to engage in reform; there is ongoing debate within the administration 
about what form that reform should take. 32 Fourth, while the U.S. has 
expressed its deepest anger against the UN. and against particular states in the 
Security Council, it has been working precisely with those states on the North 

Fifth, I suspect, however, that the question of pre-emption will not really be 
tested by the Iraq conflict. Although the Bush administration and the Tony 
Blair administration have both made frequent public statements about the 
future threat posed by Saddam Hussein, and used this in domestic contexts as a 
justification for war, in the Security Council and in authorizing documents they 
have been more careful to cast their actions in terms of enforcing several previ- 
ous resolutions. In other words, while both cases could be made, there will 
probably be enough evidence and enough law to cover the war in Iraq within 
existing Security Council parameters. 

The damage to the UN. must also be viewed in historical context. Damage 
to the U.N. from the Iraq episode is probably less than claimed because the 
standard by which it is being judged is absurd. To say that because of Iraq the 
U.N. will "no longer be central to the management of international security" is 
to propose that it was; but it has not been. Marginal and largely inactive on 
security issues during the Cold War, the UN. in the post-Cold War period has 
been extremely active on security issues but largely in marginal conflicts. Even 
during the 1990s, a decade of significant U.N. evolution in terms of peacemak- 
ing and peacekeeping policy and roles, the U.S. on at least three occasions 
authorized unilateral military action with neither reference to nor authorization 
from the UN.: in Panama, in Afghanistan, and in the Sudan. U.S. military 
forces worked outside the framework of U.N. policy and sanctions vis-a-vis 
Croatia (though using private rather than governmental actors to train and 
equip the Croatian forces), and managed the North Korea nuclear crisis in 1994 
outside the framework of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The U.S. took NATO 
into out-of-area operations for the first time, launching military action against 
Yugoslav forces in Kosovo, without U.N. authorization. Nor was it alone — as 
noted above, several other actors including Russia, France, and Germany took 
unilateral actions on key international foreign policy and security issues, as did 
sub-regional actors such as Nigeria. The ethical merits or broad popularity of 
some (though far from all) of these actions may create an important political dif- 
ference between these actions and the war against Iraq, but they do not support 
a conception of the UN. as once central to international security. 

This chapter was being finalized just after a terrorist attack against UN. 
headquarters in Baghdad killed at least 23 UN. staff members — grievous 
damage indeed. The attack quickly led for calls for a wider U.N. role in Iraq. 

226 Bruce D. Jones 

Inside the U.N. itself, however, there was a degree of skepticism, as some 
believed that the organization had exposed itself to risk by seeking a major 
political role when there was neither a political nor a principled basis for it to 
play one. 

In short, there is some merit in the skepticism shown by the current Bush 
administration (and its predecessors) toward the U.N. as a tool for managing the 
central challenges of international security. While the constantly shifting basis of 
U.S. policy toward Iraq leaves more than enough room for skepticism about 
both the motivations and the future agenda of the Bush administration, there is 
also room for a great deal of skepticism about whether the U.N., as currently 
configured, can realistically be expected to play a credible role in managing key 
contemporary threats to international security. Can the U.N. be a credible 
instrument for managing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction 
(WMD)? Can it prevent wars with the potential for use of nuclear weapons in 
south Asia, on the Korean peninsula, and perhaps beyond? Can it generate real 
progress on Arab-Israeli conflicts? Can it combat terrorism? Can it protect 
civilians and the human rights of oppressed communities? If the answer is "yes" 
to any of these questions, then it must surely be on the basis of a deep and 
sustained reform at least an order of magnitude greater than anything that 
occurred in the 1990s. 34 

Under current international political realities, the only possible source for a 
deep reform is a U.S. government acting on the basis of a credible policy, in 
collaboration with allies. 35 Recent statements by European and other leaders 
that the U.N. must exist as a universal instrument for challenging U.S. power 
can only be described as romantic and injurious to the survival of the U.N. The 
idea that a single superpower would continue to support either politically or 
financially a body whose central function would be to limit its power has no 
basis in either history or theory. 

The key question becomes, is there an agenda for real reform of the U.N. 
and related multilateral security instruments that meets both key U.S. security 
interests and a broad enough conception of legitimacy to sustain international 
engagement and commitments? This remains to be seen as does the content of 
Bush's intention to help the U.N. "get its legs, legs of responsibility, back." 36 But 
the basis for real reform must have two elements. First, a more realistic stance 
on the limits of the U.N. on the part of those allies and the pro-U.N. commu- 
nity, and a willingness in that community to make real commitments to 
credible, enforceable multilateral regimes for containing and preventing the 
spread and use of WMD and of terrorism, as well as commitments to managing 
other security threats. Second, a more consistent stance by the Bush administra- 
tion will be necessary on the key question of the basis on which U.S. power and 
force will be used, and a willingness to work with key allies to develop a legal 
and institutional framework on that issue. Realism on both fronts will be neces- 
sary; straw men and blind men have nothing to add. 

Tactical multilateralism 111 

1 During the period 2000-2, the author served as Chief of Staff to the U.N. Special 
Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. However, the views expressed in this 
paper are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect U.N. attitudes or 

2 John Van Oudenaren, "What is 'Multilateral'?" Policy Review no. 117 (February- 
March 2003), pp. 33-47 at p. 33. 

3 Stewart Patrick, "Beyond Coalitions of the Willing: Assessing U.S. Multilateralism," 
Ethics and International Affairs 17, no. 1 (2003), pp. 37-54 at p. 37; and Stewart Patrick 
and Shepard Forman, eds., Multilateralism and U.S. Foreign Policy: Ambivalent Engagement 
(Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2002), pp. 27-44. See also David M. Malone and 
Yuen Foong Khong, Unilateralism and U.S. Foreign Policy: International Perspectives 
(Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2003). 

4 Patrick, "Beyond Coalitions," p. 38. 

5 Ibid., p. 40. 

6 A comprehensive history is found in William B. Quandt, Peace Process: U.S. Diplomacy 
and the Arab-Israeli Conflict since 1967, revised edition (Washington: Brookings Institu- 
tion Press, 2001). 

7 Author's notes, Gaza/Jerusalem, November 2000. 

8 Interview with Norwegian officials; author's notes, Gaza/Jerusalem November 2000. 

9 On Kissinger's thinking about the U.S.-Israeli relationship and its role in U.S.— Arab 
relations, see Quandt, Peace Process, pp. 183-8. 

10 For a recent critique of the Taba talks and their success or failure, see David 
Makovsky, "Taba Mythchief," The National Interest, no. 71 (Spring 2003), pp. 119-29. 

1 1 See Hussein Agha and Rob Malley, "Camp David: The Tragedy of Errors," New 
York Review of Books, August 9, 2001, pp. 59-65. Also see Benny Morris interview 
with Ehud Barak, New York Review of Books, June 13, 2002, http: //www.nybooks. 
com/articles/ 15501; and Agha and Malley 's response, New York Review of Books, 
June 13, 2002, 

12 For a contrasting view, see Makovsky, "Taba Mythchief," pp. 1 19-29. 

13 Author's notes, Gaza/Tel Aviv/Ramallah/Jerusalem, October-November 2001. 

14 Author's notes, Tel Aviv, October 2001. 

15 Statements by the Quartet from these meetings are available at http://www.state. 

16 For a recent article expressing strong concern about the Quartet's role and its Road 
Map, see Mort Zuckerman, "A Road Map to Nowhere," U.S. News and World Report, 
March 17, 2003, pp. 55-6. 

17 http://www.whitehouse.gOv/news/releases/2001/l 1/2001 1 1 10-3.html. 


19 For an account of U.N -Israel relations prior to the 1990s, see Brian Urquhart, 
"The United Nations in the Middle East: A 50-Year Retrospective," Middle East 
Journal 49, no. 4 (Autumn 1995), pp. 572-81. 

20 Author notes, U.S. Army/Lexington Institute conference on U.S. National Security 
Objectives for the Twenty-First Century, Washington, D.C., November 2002. 

21 Some U.N. officials are in fact concerned about the implications of France's 
"inside/outside" role vis-a-vis U.N. peacekeeping, whereby French troops have with 
increasing frequency been deployed to African contexts (most recently Cote d'lvoire) 
in ways that reinforce U.N. objectives, but outside the framework of UN. authoriza- 
tion. Correspondence, U.N. officials, June 2003. 

22 This section is based in part on author interviews with Israeli security analysts, all of 
them current or former senior officials of the Israeli Defense Forces. 

23 Author interview, former Israeli officials of the Prime Minister's office and the IDF 
planning services, New York and Washington, D.C., November 2002. 

228 Bruce D. Jones 

24 See Roula Khalaf and Guy Dinmore, "U.N. Nuclear Body Raises Iran Concern," 
Tiiitmciai Times, June 6, 2003. 

25 Author's conversations with U.S. officials, State Department and National Security 
Council, March 2003. Also statements by senior U.S. officials in closed sessions, 
Washington, March 2003. 

26 Susan Sachs, "Bush's Commitment to Mideast Peace Plan Gives Rise to Optimism 
in the Arab World," New York Times, June 8, 2003, p. 8. 

27 For an account of public opinion in various Arab countries, see in particular "What 
Arabs Think: Values, Beliefs and Concerns — Landmark Study of Arab Values and 
Political Concerns. The Views of 3,800 Arab Adults Polled by Zogby International,", October 4, 2002. 

28 Anion" the more important arc (he programs on US.-Arab relations at Brookings 
Institution's Saban Center, and the Council on Foreign Relations' program on U.S. 
relations with women in the Islamic world. 

29 Author notes, U.S. Army/Lexington Institute conference. 

30 Author's field notes, January 2001 . 

3 1 United Nations Development Program, Arab Human Development Report (New York: 
UNDP, 2002). 

32 For an account of more radical views among intellectuals close to (but not in) the 
administration, sec James Traub. "The Next Resolution," New York Times Magazine, 
April 13, 2003, p. 50. 

33 There is a certain irony in that the U.S. official tasked with threatening North 
Korea — to use his word — with U.N. Security Council action is none other than 
Assistant Secrciarv of Suite for Arms Control John Bolton, infamous for having 
walked away from the Biological Weapons Convention review conference. 

34 A clear statement of this position to date can be found in Edward Luck, "Making the 
World Safe for Hypocrisy," New York Times, March 22, 2003, p. Al 1. 

35 Here, Poland's recent initiative to assess the appetite among member states for a 
revision to the U.N. Charter takes on a more interesting light in view of its role as 
part of the military force currendy deployed in Iraq. 

36 The full sentence quotation reads: "And we hope t( 
If not, all of us need to step back and try to figur 
better as we head into the twenty-first century. Perhaps one way will be, if we use 
military force, in the post-Saddam Iraq the U.N. will definitely need to have a role. 
And that way it can begin to get its legs, legs of responsibility back." PreMdenl littdi. 
Azores, March 16, 2003, http://www. news/releases. 


Whither human rights, 
unilateralism, and U.S. 
foreign policy? 

Thomas G Weiss, Margaret E. Crahan, 
and John Goering 

For more than three centuries, the concept of state sovereignty has been contin- 
uously refined, debated, and redefined from its origins in the Westphalian era. 
The Congress of Vienna, the League of Nations and the creation of the United 
Nations in 1945 each marked critical, yet partial and imperfect, turning points 
in the re-conceptualization of the sovereign authority and obligations of states. 1 
This uneven, even fitful, evolution continues into the present. From the per- 
spective of this volume, constrained sovereignty is an outcome of the human 
rights "revolution" — symbolically begun with the signing of the Universal Dec- 
laration of Human Rights in 1948. 2 Although Stephen Krasner argues that it 
has always been "organized hypocrisy,"' 5 most U.N. member states and their 
governmental representatives accept, with varying degrees of institutionalized 
commitment, contemporary definitions of and limits to their own state's sover- 
eignty on behalf of a rights regime negotiated on numerous occasions under 
United Nations auspices. Hence a significant change over the life of the world 
organization has been that an increasing number of its 191 member states agree 
that state sovereignty can be legitimately circumscribed in order both to ensure 
international peace and security and to help eliminate gross violations of human 
rights. In short, as the authors in this collection attest, there has been a gradual 
ascendancy in the importance of human rights as a factor in world politics. 
This evolution was prompted in large measure by the shattering historical 
s of the Thirty Years' War and the Napoleonic wars together with the 
ieth century's equivalents in World Wars I and II. With the increasing 
incidence of civil, as opposed to inter-state, war in the contemporary era, there 
have been major developments in terms of humanitarian intervention that have 
increasingly reinforced the principle that state sovereignty encompasses and 
requires the protection of the basic rights of individuals as defined by the UN. 
Charter and other declarations, conventions, and treaties. 4 With each redefini- 
tion of the most effective means to concomitantly ensure state sovereignty and 
the rights of peoples within a country's borders, issues of balance have promi- 
nendy and even contentiously emerged. The issue of necessary balance includes 
questions regarding the legal and moral criteria for effective responses by the 
U.N. or others to gross human rights violations. The role of the United Nations, 

232 Thomas G. Weiss, Margaret E. Crahan, and John doering 

as the ultimate multilateral ombudsman, has grown with the codification of the 
re-balancing between rights and state sovereignty. As recent events have shown, 
however, the world organization's role and even future are not fully guaranteed. 

Advances in human rights promotion as well as multilateral cooperation 
accelerated with the end of the Gold War. Temporarily, at least, we heard 
numerous euphoric soundings about a "new world order" including from 
former President George H.W. Bush, ironically on September 11, lOOO. 3 Such 
optimism about the growing role of international law and organizations was 
dealt a sizeable blow, however, barely a decade later. The severity, meaning, 
and effects of that "blow" from terrorists constitute the focus of most of the 
chapters within this collection. 

The events of September 11, 2001 focused the attention of the public, 
policy-makers, and experts on determining, under tragically altered circum- 
stances, the political and policy meaning of the U.N. Charter's affirmation in 
Article 2 (1), which specifies the "sovereign equality of its Members." This was 
particularly true given that the attacks were at that point directed at the world's 
only superpower, whose visceral response was to bring to bear its military, as 
well as its economic and diplomatic, powers, and to officially commit itself to a 
permanent war against such terrorism. Indeed, several of the contributors to 
this book suggest the accuracy of former French Foreign Minister Hubert 
Vedrine's characterization of the United States as the hyperpuissance. 6 

Unsurprisingly, the early inclination of the United States — including the bulk 
of its citizens — was to respond directly and without expending time on extensive 
multilateral consultations. Nevertheless, the community of states at the United 
Nations voiced support for self-defense measures in the Security Council and 
General Assembly in September 200 1 . And once the authors of the attack were 
identified, the U.S. worked largely through multilateral channels in pursuing Al 
Qaeda in their redoubts in Afghanistan, and the Taliban government that har- 
bored them. Since the toppling of the latter, policy-makers have been searching 
for logical next steps in the war on terrorism. 

It is at this juncture that issues of legitimate response to September 1 1 
become more complex. The war on Iraq seemingly became part of the war on 
terrorism by default, and U.S. action assumed center stage in the debate about 
the use and relevance of multilateral instruments, including the U.N. The 
ensuing debate over sovereignty, human rights, and war at times seemed to 
overlook the progress of the prior five decades. 

The chapters in this book were selected to probe the gnarly issues that seem- 
ingly transcend the traditional frontiers of international borders, law, politics, 
ethnicities, religions, and cultures. They involve the interplay of foreign policy 
and domestic politics, including the tension within recent U.S. administrations 
between moderate multilateralists and conservative unilateralists. The complex- 
ity of these issues is well reflected in the range of opinions included within this 
volume and echoes the more general public policy debate within the U.S. and 

This concluding chapter aims not to break new ground, but rather to raise 

Whither human rights, unilateralism, and U.S. foreign policy? 233 

questions that, we hope, can inform national and international public policy 
debates in the "post-September 1 1 era" — the current inadequate label that sub- 
stitutes for the term "post-post-Gold War era." As our introduction to this 
collection, and the first half of the book, deal extensively with the repercussions 
of Washington's current policies for the enjoyment of human rights domestically 
and internationally, we will not retrace those arguments here. Nonetheless, it is 
worth reiterating how criticisms of the Bush administration for jeopardizing 
fundamental rights in the pursuit of the war on terrorism have become com- 
monplace. As the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, in paraphrasing 
Senator John McCain, cautioned: "secrecy can breed increased distrust of gov- 

This chapter thus mainly grapples with the implications of unilateralism for 
international peace and security, as well as the legitimacy of U.S. leadership 
throughout the world. While the impact of the wars on terrorism and Iraq on 
human rights has been largely negative in the views of contributors, the impact 
on multilateral cooperation has been far more ambiguous. The U.S., despite its 
intentions and raw power, seems impelled to restore and utilize multilateral 
instruments in order to achieve its goals in Iraq and elsewhere. 

A key question at the heart of this collection is how best to defend a state's 
sovereignty and the rights of its citizens in the face of terrorism in the context of 
a heavily interdependent and globalized world. The U.N. Charter's recognition 
of the need to move away from an absolutist interpretation of state sovereignty 
toward greater multilateral cooperation in order to better ensure international 
peace and security was the product of its drafters' experience of the realities of 
two world wars, economic depression, and genocide. These hard-bitten individ- 
uals were inclined more toward realpolitik than toward idealism in international 
relations. 8 The question arises, then, to what degree does their reasoned judg- 
ment about the value of multilateralism via international law and organizations 
continue to provide the most effective response to current terrorist threats? 9 Is 
contemporary terrorism so fund ilerent from the violence of the 

past, including the state terrorism visited upon the world by fascism and despo- 
tism, that the mechanisms developed since the early 1940s should be materially 
revamped or even abandoned? There is virtually no support among the analysts 
in this volume for ending the multilateral bonds and institutions that serve so 
many vital functions, and ultimately U.S. interests. 

An additional concern is whether unilateral pre-emptive responses are more 
effective in the long term and less socially, politically, and even fiscally costly 
than multilateral ones. 10 In short, what are the underlying prerequisites for 
effective policies to respond to the present challenges to national and inter- 
national security? And, as ever, how do we best protect the fundamental fabric 
of civil liberties within a new system of commitments to security, when fear typ- 
ically trumps other concerns? 

The current Bush administration's response to terror, as detailed in its Sep- 
tember 2002 "National Security Strategy of the United States of America," 11 
has been characterized by Yale University historian John Lewis Gaddis as 

234 Thomas G. Weiss, Margaret E. Crahan, and John (jocring 

proactive in its promotion of both democracy and market economics. Further- 
more, he believes, it also reflects a concern for how the U.S. will respond given 
that there is no apparent necessary contradiction between the exercise of great 
power and respect for universal principles. With respect to Iraq, he suggests that 
behind U.S. security policy lies "an incontestable moral claim: that in some sit- 
uations preemption is preferable to doing nothing. Who would not have 
preempted Hitler or Milosevic or Mohammed Atta, if given the chance?" For 
such a policy to work, the U.S. must not stand "defiantly alone." 12 A prerequi- 
site for the success of such policy is consistency in pursuing support from other 
countries on critical matters, most notably in crises. How multilateral pre- 
emption might work through such instruments as the Security Council remains, 
of course, unclear. 

The core of Gaddis's observation is echoed by former Secretary of State 
Madeleine K. Albright. She holds that President George W. Bush's national 
security strategy for dealing with the sponsors of the September 200 1 and sub- 
sequent attacks would be more effective if there were an emphasis on the belief 
that terrorism is always wrong: 

The lesson for us now is that the longer the illusion of evil as somehow jus- 
tified lasts — whether buttressed by propaganda, ignorance, convenience, or 
fear — the harder it is to dispel. That is why we must take nothing for 
granted. We must be relentless in shaping a global consensus that terrorism 
is fully, fundamentally, and always wrong. No exceptions, no excuses. 13 

As a pragmatic practitioner of statecraft, Albright recommends building consen- 
sus around basic indisputable principles from which agreed actions would flow. 
A new doctrine of multilateral pre-emption against terrorism would be estab- 
lished, underpinned by widespread support that would make for easier and less 
costly implementation. That successful national security policy requires multilat- 
eral support to ensure its success is a view powerfully presented in virtually 
every contribution to this volume. 

There is, of course, nothing neat and readily formulaic about any transition 
to more effective international forms to combat terrorism. Mary Robinson, 
former United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, for example, recently 
acknowledged that "it is both in the national interest of the United States and in 
our collective interest to defend, strengthen, and yes, reform, the multilateral 
system in which we have invested so much so that it can meet the challenges of 
the twenty-first century." 14 U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan opened the 
September 2003 General Assembly with his support for the view that "only 
'radical' revisions in the institution are likely to preserve it." 15 

The possibility of reform of the current system for loosely enforced security 
principles and human rights is among the underlying motivations behind this 
collection. Is it possible, at this early stage in the fight against terrorism, to con- 
struct new policies for a world more frightened than hopeful? What are the 
most effective links between international peace and security and human rights 

Whither human rights, unilateralism, and U.S. foreign policy? 235 

within a reorganized United Nations? Indeed, is a reformed U.N. even a 
remote possibility? It certainly will be a difficult sell in the United States. 

The case for and complexity of multilateralism is reinforced when one con- 
siders the transnational nature of terrorist networks and the possibility that they 
may gain access to nuclear weapons. Terrorist networks, comprising both non- 
state and state actors with strong financial and criminal connections, can be 
found around the globe in countries ranging from the highly industrialized to 
the least developed. 16 Indeed, many aspects of controlling terrorism — from 
intelligence gathering to halting money laundering — require enhancing multi- 
lateral cooperation, not reducing it. A case could be made for increasing efforts 
to agree upon U.N. conventions and treaties that bind signatoi 
actions in pursuit of shared objectives, especially with respect to 
control of the production of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). 

However, given that the United States is the world's only remaining super- 
power, a question arises as to the degree to which, and for what tactical 
objectives, multilateralism is politically realistic. It is a truism that "great powers 
do not make great multilateralists." 17 Indeed, some key voices within the Bush 
administration appear to believe that unilateral leadership is not only viable in 
today's multilateral world, but also widely acceptable to many other countries. 
Such a position was clearly laid out by the President in his June 1 , 2002 speech 
at West Point in which he suggested that other powers willingly accept U.S. 
leadership given its benign nature rooted in shared values and universal princi- 
ples. The U.S.'s political-military capacity — spending in 2003 more on its 
armed forces than all other countries combined — makes the United States the 
leader of the community of "willing" states. Moreover, the U.S. formal commit- 
ment to democracy and human rights is reason enough, according to Bush, for 
countries to accept actions that appear to violate the prohibition in inter- 
national law against the utilization of military intervention to achieve regime 
change. 18 It is difficult at this early stage in the evolution of this new doctrine to 
identify its costs as well as its benefits. Political polling data in late summer and 
early fall 2003 suggest, however, one possible cost of the Bush administration's 
strategy: its popularity both domestically and internationally. 

Whatever one's judgment about the plausibility or desirability of U.S leader- 
ship at the dawn of the twenty-first century, clearly the administration's thinking 
and actions have generated concern among both U.S. friends and foes, which 
reached a new apex in March 2003 when Washington and London went to war 
against Iraq without the consent of the Security Council but after beginning 
negotiations to seek formal approval. This situation exacerbated tensions that 
went far beyond the long-standing desire on the part of many countries, includ- 
ing U.S. allies, to "reform" the Security Council in order to address the 
fundamental power imbalance between those states with veto power and those 
without. 19 Indeed, as several of the contributions in this volume suggest, there is 
increasingly widespread international concern that U.S. security doctrine is 
undercutting the widely accepted legal principles according to which inter- 
national organizations, most notably the U.N., function. 20 

236 Thomas G. Weiss, Margaret E. Crahan, and John Gin-ring 

The question thus arises: when does superpower status outstrip the willing- 
ness of other countries to accept actions that can undercut basic principles of 
international behavior regarded as essential for long-term international peace 
and stability? Indeed, as U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Communications 
and Public Information Shashi Tharoor told some of our authors and recently 
reminded readers of Foreign Affairs: 

The U.N. was meant to help create a world in which its member states 
would overcome their vulnerabilities by embedding themselves in inter- 
national institutions, where the use of force would be subjected to the 
constraints of international law. Power politics would not disappear from 
the face of the earth but would be practiced with due regard for uni\ crsally 
upheld rules and norms. Such a system also offered the United States — 
then, as now, the world's unchallenged superpower — the assurance that 
other countries would not feel the need to develop coalitions to balance its 
power. Instead, the UN. provided a framework for them to work in part- 
nership with the United States. 21 

Evidence of erosion of international acceptance of U.S. leadership was apparent 
in Washington's failure to secure a follow-up resolution to Security Council Res- 
olution 1441 prior to the onset of the war in Iraq. In May 2003 Security 
Council Resolution 1483 begrudgingly acknowledged the Iraqi Coalition Provi- 
sional Authority, but it was inadequate to secure widespread international 
military and financial support for the ongoing occupation of the country. It is 
too early to determine the impact of various options on the Security Council's 
negotiating table for next steps in Iraq. However, it would appear possible that 
other countries may increasingly opt to operate as blocs in dealing with major 
powers including the United States rather than through international organiza- 
tions such as the United Nations. The strong opposition to U.S. and European 
trade proposals at the World Trade Organization's September 2003 meeting in 
Canciin illustrates the potential for new coalitions of states to emerge within or 
outside the U.N. framework that will recalibrate options for comprehensive 
multilateralism on any issue. 

The main reason for the creation of the U.N., "to save succeeding genera- 
tions from the scourge of war" according to the opening sentence in the 
Preamble to the Charter, involved institutionalizing criteria to authorize inter- 
national action, in order to separate legitimate from illegal use of force. Over 
time, an international consensus has emerged that the criteria for legitimate 
intervention include that the action be multilateral (this thereby reduces the 
likelihood that action be taken that benefits a single country or small group of 
countries), that it be agreed upon by a relevant international organization 
(usually the Security Council), that the intervention itself cause less harm than 
allowing the existing situation to continue, that it be in response to a long-term 
threat to international peace and security or to human rights, that it be limited 
in time and scope, and that it not be intended to effect regime change. 22 

Whither human rights, unilateralism, and U.S. foreign policy? 237 

The case of Iraq raises the question of whether some of these international 
norms are more legitimate than others, and whether some actors are more 
important than others. Can international law long sustain double standards in 
which the United States imposes its judgments? With respect to Iraq the shift- 
ing, and increasingly contested, justifications offered for military intervention by 
the Bush administration have caused the issue of legitimacy to permeate domes- 
tic as well as international political, diplomatic, and scholarly debate. While no 
definitive answer is at hand, the presumed moral legitimacy of armed, unilateral 
pre-emption appears to have begun a healthy debate over the legitimacy of 
such action by the U.S. and the U.K. 

We are all familiar with the reasons adduced for the war in Iraq, especially 
in view of the public debate over the presence or absence of WMD in Iraq and 
whether violation of U.N. resolutions justified military intervention. As empha- 
sis on this issue receded when the proverbial "smoking gun" was not found, the 
focus changed to democracy promotion and defense of the rights of the Iraqi 
people. Skepticism concerning U.S. intentions resulted. Many observers saw this 
as a convenient but unpersuasive argument because it was made ex post facto, 
seemingly as an afterthought. 

Experience suggests, moreover, that democracy does not necessarily follow 
military intervention even when previously established democracies are restored. 
Indeed, democracy promotion under the best of circumstances has been repeat- 
edly shown in recent years to be arduous and extremely cosdy even in countries 
where democracy formerly reigned (e.g. Uruguay and Argentina). Given the 
history of Iraq, the task is particularly difficult although, according to European 
Union Commissioner for External Relations Chris Patten, not impossible. His 
prescription is "free trade, generous aid, a willingness to link that aid to good 
behavior, and a litde consistency." 2,5 Furthermore, short-term objectives, he 
warns sensibly, should not overwhelm human rights promotion. 

Currently it appears that the task on the ground will require more resources, 
expertise, and time than the U.S. is able and seemingly willing to commit. As 
we write this in October 2003, the unsettled situation in Iraq has already 
revealed thorny problems, including the resistance of sectors of the population 
to U.S. military occupation and even to Western concepts of democracy. It is 
possible that democracy promotion mechanisms, such as elections, could bring 
to power antidemocratic elements with agendas that would severely disadvan- 
tage sectors of the population including ethnic and religious minorities, as well 
as women. In short, if there is a greater degree of political participation in Iraq, 
can there be guarantees that democracy will result in respect for the human 
rights of all? Does U.S. promotion of democracy in states such as Iraq ensure 
state commitment to rights, and, if not, what is the remedy once such an elec- 
torally legitimate government has been "grown"? Who decides what democracy 
and rights really mean in Iraq? 

The presumption that a stronger civil society necessarily results in greater 
democracy has been challenged by studies of Weimar Germany and more 
recently in countries as varied as Nigeria and Argentina. 24 In a country such as 

238 Thomas G. Weiss, Margaret E. Crahan, and John Goering 

Iraq without a strong history of democratic political participation, entrenched 
rule of law, regular alteration of governments freely chosen, and widespread 
recognition of the full spectrum of human rights, the prospect that a stable 
democratic regime will emerge out of military intervention is doubtful. If the 
U.S. is willing to devote extraordinary sums of money, time, and expertise to 
the enterprise — all of which are in short supply — would that ensure the desired 

Growing budgetary constraints and fiscal worries in the U.S. are a necessary 
part of the run-up to the November 2004 elections that make it improbable that 
the financial resources will be readily available. Furthermore, there is increasing 
popular, as well as state and local, pressure on Congress to appropriate more 
monies for domestic security, which experts agree is woefully underfunded.-'' To 
e significantly the budgetary allotments for Iraqi physical and civil society 
i which is a prerequisite for greater enjoyment of socioeconomic 
rights in that country appears beyond U.S. will or capacity, much less so the 
long-term programs necessary for democracy promotion. It is nonetheless 
uncertain whether the escalating federal deficit will serve as a brake on any 
major increases. Finally, the recent U.S. census has confirmed that the number 
of poor people in thiss country rose by 1.3 million in 2002. 2b This may augment 
pressures for more appropriations for domestic programs, particularly in an 
election year. 

Other factors complicating any simple world view include increasing dislrusi 
both domestically and internationally of U.S. intelligence services given the 
inadequacy of Iraqi threat assessments adduced as justification for the war. The 
legitimacy of coercive disarmament, via military means, is also being widely 
questioned, particularly whether it tends to inflame rather than squelch poten- 
tially explosive situations. In addition, U.S. disregard for the existing arms 
control regime, which monitors and inhibits the spread of WMD, has essentially 
weakened proven defenses against the proliferation and misuse of WMD. While 
the record of U.N. weapons inspections and the International Atomic Energy 
Agency are not perfect, history suggests that they have made a positive contri- 
bution to arms control. Indeed, the growing and potential international support 
for building U.N. capacity for arms inspections is another ironic victim of the 

Beyond this, some commentators have concluded that President Bush has 
lowered the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons. Former Secretary of State 
Albright, for one, has argued that the President erred by emphasizing, in his 
State of the Union address and subsequent statements, not the value of building 
an antiterror coalition, but rather his unilateral intention to maintain U.S. "mil- 
itary strength beyond challenge, thereby making the destabilizing arms races 
of other eras pointless." He then asked Congress for the authority to explore 
new uses for nuclear weapons, creating the perception overseas that he was 
lowering the threshold for nuclear strikes — despite the United States' vast con- 
ventional military superiority and the risks posed to U.S. security by the 
proliferation of WMD. 28 

Whither human rights, unilateralism, and U.S. foreign policy? 239 

This emphasis has led to considerable concern among some experts that 
such a policy will encourage the development and acquisition of such weapons 
by other countries. This is particularly worrisome if, as Harvard Professor 
Michael Ignatieff asserts, "The administration, purposely or not, routinely con- 
flates terrorism and the nuclear threat from rogue nations." 29 Since the United 
States has already specifically identified some states with nuclear capability such 
as North Korea as "rogues," and hence enemies in its war on terrorism, the 
question arises as to whether or not this might actually further stimulate their 
pursuit of WMD. The case of North Korea is particularly illustrative of the 
problems inherent in Washington's conflation in that the former's interest in 
developing its nuclear capabilities appears to be more of an attempt to assert 
national sovereignty in the face of eroding domestic support and tense relations 
with its neighbors than any strategy based on terrorism. This is precisely the 
type of potentially threatening situation for which the United Nations and other 
international organizations were created. The irony of the current situation is 
becoming apparent to many observers. Georgetown University's John Iken- 
berry, for instance, has argued that: "The worst unilateral impulses coming out 
of the Bush administration are so harshly criticized around the world because so 
many countries have accepted the multilateral vision of international order that 
the United States has articulated over most of the twentieth century." 30 

Given the real and potential threats to the U.S., as well as international secu- 
rity, emanating from the possessors of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and 
Asia, a strong international monitoring system would seem to be in the U.S.'s 
national interest, however broadly or narrowly defined. On this issue, it would 
appear natural that Washington assume a leadership role that incorporates 
other powers as well as the full spectrum of interested parties. The threat of war 
utilizing WMD is perhaps as strong today as it was when the United Nations 
and its monitoring system were first devised. 

What if the United States does not assume a leadership role in this realm that 
is capable of mobilizing broad-based support? How effective will the tried and 
true mechanisms for avoiding such catastrophes be under such conditions? 
Indeed, pessimism could be even more justifiable if as former U.N. High Com- 
missioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson reminds us in the Foreword to this 
book, the historical standard-bearer on this and other issues relevant to inter- 
national peace and security and human rights fails to hold the standard high. 

Clearly the threats facing the world today require strategies that are multilat- 
eral in both their ends and their means. 31 That, as the conventional idiom 
would state, is the bottom line of this book. While there are no immediate and 
fully satisfying answers about how to re-establish traditional U.S. leadership in 
both human rights and multilateral engagements, the process of critical analysis 
as exemplified in this volume is a step in the right direction. 

240 Thomas G. Weiss, Margaret E. Crahan, and John (jocring 

1 On the origins and evolution of the concepts of the state and sovereignty see 
Bernard Guernee, States and Rulers in Later Medieval Europe, trans. Juliet Vale (New 
York: Blackwell, 1985); Andrew Vincent, Theories of the State (London: Blackwell, 
1987); Julian H. Franklin, John Locke and the Theory of Sovereignty (Cambridge: Cam- 
bridge University Press, 1978); W. Ross Johnston, Sovereignty and Protection: A Study of 
Brili.dt Jurisdictional Imperialism in the Late Nineteenth Century (Durham, N.C.: Duke Uni- 
versity Press, 1973). 

2 See, for example, Thomas Risse, Stephen C. Ropp, and Kathryn Sikkink, eds., The 
Power of Human Rights: International Norms and Domestic Change (Cambridge: Cambridge 
University Press, 1999); and Jack Donnelly, Universal Human Rights in Theory and Prac- 
tice, 2nd edition (Ithaca. N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2003). 

3 Stephen Krasner. Sovereignly: Organized Hypocrisy (Princeton: Princeton University 
Press, 1999). 

4 International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, The Responsibility to 
Protect (Ottawa: ICISS, 2001). For the background research, see Thomas G. Weiss 
and Don Hubert, The Responsibility to Protect: Research, Bibliography, and Background 
(Ottawa: ICISS, 2001). 

5 See "Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress on the Persian Gulf Crisis and 
the Federal Budget Deficit," September 11, 1990, 
papers/ 1990/9009 1101. html. 

6 The implications for international law and niganizatioii are explored in Michael 
Byers and Georg Nolte, eds., United States Hegemony and the Foundations of International 
Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003); and Rosemary Foot, S. Neil 
MncFarlane, and Michael Mastanduno, eds., U.S. Hegemony and International Organiza- 
tions (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003). For contemporary political snapshots, 
sec Niall Ferguson, "Hegemony or Empire:'" Foreign Affairs, 82 no. 5 (September 
October 2003), pp. 154-61; and Joseph S. Nye Jr., "The Velvet Hegemon," Foreign 
Policy, no. 136 (May-June 2003), pp. 74-5. 

7 Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, Assessing the New Normal: Liberty and Security for 
the Post-September 11 United States (New York: Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, 
September 2003). 

8 See Stephen C. Schlesinger, Act of Creation: The Founding of the United Nations (Boulder, 
CO: Westview, 2003). 

9 For the international legal framework for responding to terrorism see Inter-American 
Commission on Human Rights, Organization of American States, Report on Terrorism 
and Human li mi of American States, 2002), 
pp. 33-68. 

10 For alternative scenarios, see Council on Foreign Relations, A New Natiuntd Security 
Strategy in an Age of Terrorists, Tyrant.-., and Weapons of Mass Destruction (New York: 
Council on Foreign Relations, 2003). 

1 1 "National Security Strategy of the United States of America, September 2002," 

12 John Lewis Gaddis, "A Grand Strategy," Foreign Policy, no. 133 (November-Decem- 
ber 2002), pp. 54, 56. 

13 Madeleine K. Albright, "Bridges, Bombs, or Bluster?", Foreign Affairs 82, no. 5 (Sep- 
tember-October 2003), p. 1 1. 

14 Mary Robinson, "Shaping Globalization: The Role of Human Rights," Fifth Annual 
Grotius lecture, American Society of International Law. April. Washington. !).(.. 

15 See "Adoption of Policy of Pre-emption Could Result in Proliferation of Unilateral 
Lawless Use of Force, Secretary-General Tells General Assembly," SG/SM 8891 

Whither human rights, unilateralism, and U.S. foreign policy? 241 

GA/10157, September 23, 2003, 
889 l.doc.htm. 

16 See Monica Serrano, "The political economy of terrorism," and Rama Mani, "The 
root causes of terrorism and conflict prevention," in Jane Boulden and Thomas 
G. Weiss, eds., Terrorism and the U.JV.: Before and After September 11 (Bloomington, IN: 
Indiana University Press, 2004), Chapters 9 and 10. 

17 Steven Holloway, "U.S. Unilateralism at the UN.: Why Great Powers Do Not 
Make Great Multilateralists," Global Governance 6, no. 3 (July-September 2000), 
pp. 361-81. 

18 Gaddis, "A Grand Strategy," pp. 52-4. 

19 See Thomas G. Weiss, "The Illusion of UN. Security Council Reform," Washington 
Quarterly 26, no. 4 (Autumn 2003), pp. 147-61. 

20 James P. Rubin, "Stumbling into War," Foreign Affairs 82. no. 5 : September-October 
2003), pp. 48-9. 

21 Shashi Tharoor, "Why America Still Needs the United Nations," Foreign Affairs 82, 
no. 5 (September-October 2003), p. 79. 

22 Margaret E. Crahan, "A conceptual, legal, and political framework for human 
rights," in United States Southern Command, The Role of the Armed Forces in the Protec- 
tion of Human Rights (Miami, FL: United States Southern Command, 1996). 

23 Chris Patten, "Democracy Doesn't Flow from the Barrel of a Gun," Foreign Policy, 
no. 138 (September-October 2003), p. 43. 

24 Sheri Berman, "Civil Society and the Collapse of tin iblic," World Poli- 
tics 49, no. 3 (April 1997), pp. 401-29; Naomi Chazan, "Engaging the state: 
av;oc 'ialional life in sub-Saharan Africa," in Joel S. Migdal, Atul Kohli, and Vivi- 
enne Shue, eds., State Power and Social Forces: Domination and Transformation in the Third 
World (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994), pp. 255-89; Stephen 
N. Ndegwa, The Two Faces of Civil Society: JVGOs and Politics in Africa (West Hartford, 
CI: Ivumarian Press, 1996); Ariel Armony, The Dubious Link: Civic Engagement and 
Diiiiiu iiiiirjition (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004). 

25 Council on Foreign Relations, Emergency Responders: Drastically Underfunded, Dangerously 
Unprepared (New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 2003). 

26 "Census Shows Ranks of Poor Rose in 2002 by 1.3 Million," New York Times, Sep- 
tember 3, 2003. 

27 For an overview, see Jean E. Krasno and James S. Sutterlin, The United Nations and 
Iraq: Defanging the Viper (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003). 

28 Albright, "Bridges, Bombs, or Bluster?," p. 4. 

29 Michael Ignatieff, "Why Are We in Iraq (and Liberia? and Afghanistan?)," New York 
Times Magazine, September 7, 2003, p. 42. 

30 G. John Ikenberry, "Is American Multilateralism in Decline?" Perspectives on Politics 1, 
no. 3 (September 2003), p. 545. 

31 See Thomas G. Weiss, David P. Forsythe, and Roger A. Coate, The United Nat ions and 
Changing World Politics, 4th edition (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2004). 


Abbas, Mohamecl see Abu Mazen 

Abrams, Elliott 41, 42, 47, 165 

Abu Mazen 216, 221-2 

affirmative action 39 

Afghanistan xiii, xiv, 6, 11, 15, 51, 52, 79. 83, 
84,86-7,91, 102, 108, 115, 117, 119-20, 
121, 123, 124, 126, 127, 139, 149, 167, 169, 
177, 184, 190, 193, 209, 210, 217-18, 225, 


Al Qaeda xiv, 6, 43, 45, 70. 84, 1 17, 121, 149, 

167. 180, 182,217-18,232 
Albright, Madeleine K. 31, 231. 238 
Algeria 88, 122,219 

American Servicemen's Protection Act 82 
Amnesty International 10, 87, 92, 93 
analogy between stales and individuals 62. 

Annan, Kofi 7, 139,234 
anthropomorphism argument 61 
anti-war demonstrations 127 
Arab League 161,217 
Arab perceptions of the war in Iraq 19-20, 

159-60, 161-8,215,222 
Arali world 88 11. 16, 70. 108, 159-60, 161-8 

Arafat, Yasser 213-16, 221 
-arc of instability" 22:1 
Argentina 80, 237 
Armitage, Richard 147 
assymclrical warfare 11, 16 
asylum seekers 1 24 
Ana Mohammed 234 
Australia 124, 195 
"axis of evil" 16, 106-8, 190 

Baghdad: bombing of United .Nations 

headquarters in, xiii, 12,225 
Baker, James 41, 42, 57n, 212 
Balkans: war in the. 9, 17. 80, 156, 176, 177, 

179, 181, 182 
Barak, Ehud 165,213,214 
Beijing Conference on Women 10 

Belarus 115 

Belgium 88, 180 

Bell, Daniel 37 

Bergsten, C. Fred 178 

bin Laden, Osama xiv, 114 

Biological Weapons Convention 43, 115 

Blair, Tony 18, 92, 135, 145-6, 150. 159, 181 

Bolton, John 83, 165, 195-6, 199 

Bosnia 47, 51, 70,88, 106, 117, 179, 190 

Boutros-Ghali, Boutros 139 

Brahimi, Lakdhar 2 1 8 

Britain see United Kingdom 

Brzezinski, Zbigniew 157, 165 

Buchanan, Patrick 30 

Bull, Hedley 158 

Burma 115 

Bush, George H.W. 19. 11, 12. 13, 135. 138. 
143, 150, 165,212,213,232 

Bush, George W. 13, 16. 69, 78. 93, 100. 101. 
107, 113, 221; administration xv, 4-23, 29, 
31, 46-7, 63, 70, 77-93, 98, 103, 108, 
113-28, 156, 157, 161, 165, 169, 180, 
185, 189, 190, 195, 199, 201, 210-26, 
233, 235, 237, 239; and the United Nations 

Byrd, William 79 

Calvinism 36 

Cambodia 85 

Canada 89, 213 

capitalism 36, 37, 38, 44, 89, 188, 189 

Carofhers, Thomas 86 

Carter. Jimmv 11. 12, 77. 78. 89, 90. 99, 157. 

( laicgorical Imperative 1 1, 61 2, 67 
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) 1 19, 124 
Chaves. Abram 197 
Chayes, Antonia 194 
Chechnya 102, 11 In, 121, 124, 219 
checks and balances xv, xvi, 1 13 
chemical weapons 47, 125, 159, 160, 161 
Cheney, Dick 51, 137, 147-8, 149, 150 
Chile 80 
China 42, 43, 49, 50, 51, 80, 86, 89, 100, 115, 

116, 121-2, 124, 140, 146, 158, 169, 176 

Chirac, Jacques 146 

Chomsky, Noam 30 

( lluistian democracy 36 

Christianity 36 

civil rights movement 38, 39 

Clinton, Hillary Rodham 13, 1 11 

Clinton, William Jefferson 43, 78; 

administration xiy, 4, 10, 12, 23, 29, 31, 47, 
79, 80, 81-2, 86, 90, 91, 101, 123, 138, 
156-7, 165, 190, 210, 212-14, 216, 217 

(luster bombs 83, 126 

Cold War, the 7 8, 32, 14, 50, 63, 80, 98, 101, 
103, 105. Ill, 183, 221: post-, xix, 8, 12, 
16, 29, 30-2, 42, 98, 100-1, 104, 105, 109, 
138, 139, 155, 156, 157, 158, 160-1, 169, 
174, 175-6, 179, 182, 200, 223, 224, 232 

Colombia 124 

Commission on Human Rights :CHR 122 

Commission on Human Security xvi 

communism 32, 33. 42, 78. 79, 105; ami-, 98, 
99-100, 114 

communitarianism 36, 37 

Conference on Security and Cooperation in 
Europe (CSCE) 105 

Congress 6, 18, 31, 77, 79, 80, 83. 81, 86, 87, 
93, 99, 100, 116, 135, 143-4, 223, 238 

conservatives 30-1, 36, 37, 46, 148-9; paleo-, 
30, 35; traditional, 30, 41, 46, 48-9; see also 

Convention Against Torture 119 
Convention on the Elimination of Racial 

Discrimination 8 
Convention on the Rights of the Child 81 
Cook, Robin 159 
"copycat phenomenon" 124 
cost-benefit calculations 14, 71-2, 92, 177 
Council of Europe 86 
Counter-4'crrorism Cnmniiiiee xix 
Covenant on Civil and Polilii al Rights I! 
Craner, Lome W. 87 

crimes against humanity xiv, xv, 82-5, 121, 127 
criminal justice 77, 81-5 
Croatia 47, 219, 225 

Daalder, Ivo 158 

Daschle. Tom 144 

Dayton Peace Accord 1 1 7 

de Gaulle, Charles 52 

cle Mcllo. Sergio Vieira xiii 

cle Tocqucville, Alexis 69 

Democratic Party 17, 18, 31, 33, 35, 37, 41, 
79, 82, 83, 92, 122, 141, 143-4, 150, 165 

democracy: promotion of, 41, 48, 71, 77, 79, 
85-8, 90, 92-3. 98-101. 103, 106, 114, 121, 
150, 168, 195,221,224,237,238 

Deng, Francis M. 9 

Dionne, E.J. Jr. 144 

Dupuy, Pierre-Marie 192, 200 

East Timor 9, 106, 121, 218 

Index 243 

Egypt 15, 33, 86-8, 9.3, 115, 125, 159, 161-2, 

Eisenhower, Dwight D. 33 
El Salvador 42, 85, 105, 109n 
equality 66, 69 
Eritrea 124 
'"establishment" school of thought on U.S. 

European relations 20, 174-5 
"estrangement" school of thought on U.S. 

European relations 20, 174-5, 176, 179. 182 
euro, the 178 
Europe 36, 21 1; relations with U.S. 20-1, 146, 

158, 160-2, 165, 169, 174-85, 188-202, 

218, 219: see also transatlantic relationship 
European Bank for Reconstruction and 

Development (EBRD) 87 
European Court of Human Rights xvi, 196, 

198, 199 
European Rapid Reaction Force 181, 182 
European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) 

177, 179, 180-2, 184 
European Union (EU) 23, 82, 86, 161, 174, 

175, 176, 177-8. 181-2. 183, 196, 213, 214, 

exceptionalism: U.S., xvi, 12, 13-14, 22, 63, 

69,77-83,86,92,93-4, 115, 194 
Exxon Mobil 1 2 1 

fascism 34, 106, 233 

Federal Bureau of In\ csiigation FBI li 

Feith, Douglas, J. 165 

Ford, Gerald 41 

Fourth World War 13,44 

France 33, 78, 82, 140, 146, 157, 158, 175, 

176, 177, 180-2, 183, 185, 189, 218, 219, 

Freedom House 87 

genocide 9, 42, 47. 51, 78. 82-5, 99, 121. 125, 

127, 191, 195,200,233 
Germany 32, 35, 49, 146, 157, 158, 160, 175. 

176, 180. 182, 183, 189. 191.218,219,225, 

globalization 44 
Gorbachev, Mikhail 42 
Gordon, 157 

Gowland-Debbas, Vera 192 
grand strategy 30-2, 223 
Greenfield, Meg 179 
Group of Eight (G-8) 175, 183 
Guantanamo detainees 4, 5, 84, 85, 116-17, 

190, 198, 199 
Guatemala 42, 105 
Gulfwar: first. : 1991 : 9, 22. 12, 85. 108, 137, 

139, 143, 162, 182,201,202,212 

Haass, Richard 218 

244 Index 

Hagel, Charles 79, 148 

Haig, General Alexander 41, 42 

Haiti 9, 218 

Hayncs, William J. 120 

Heaney, Seamus xvii 

hegemony 44, 18, 91, 92; U.S. liberal, 156-7, 

Helms, Jesse 43, 79, 83 

Helsinki Final Act 99, 105-6 

Hiss, Alger 33 

Hitler, Adolf 34, 35, 62, 234 

Holbrooke, Richard C. 144 

Hook, Sidney 55n 

Hour. Ining 55n 

Hufbauer, Gary Clyde 178 

Hughes, Charles Evans 32 

human rights: and the challenge of in re >i ism 
1 14-16; as complementary to national and 
international security xx, 3, 4, 17, 1 14, 128; 
definition of, xix, 47; development of, 7-8, 
23; eclipse of, 101-4; in U.S. foreign policy, 
4, 10, 12, 15, 16-17, 41-2, 77-81, 90-4, 
98-109, 113-28, 157 

Human Rights Watch 10, 50, 92, 102 

Human Sultrily Now xvi 

humanitarian intervention 14, 29, 70-2, 99, 
125, 156, 193 

Hurlburt, Heather 144 

Hussein, King 214 

Ibrahim, Saadeddin 87, 125 

idealism 29, 37, 46, 135 

Ignatieff, Michael 10, 239 

Ikenberry, John 239 

Immigration and Naturalization Sen h <■ IXS 

imperialism 36, 135 
India 63, 122 
Indonesia 80, 121 
inspections: weapons, 137, 1 10, 1 16. 1 18. 212, 

intellectuals 38, 40 
Iiilcn.M)\ ( l Panel mi ( limine ( lian^r 

International Commission on Intervention and 

State Sovereignty (ICISS) 9 
International Committee of the Red Cross 

(ICRC) 84, 87, 88 
Intemaiional Covcnaiu on Civil and Poliiiial 

Rights 48, 91 
International Criminal Court (ICC) 17, 31, 43, 

80, 81-5, 89, 91, 92, 94, 115, 123, 127. 138, 

189, 190, 196, 198, 199, 200; seealsoRome 

Statute of the International Criminal Court 
Inlcrnaiional Criminal Tribunals 10, 112 

122 1 

Iraq 12, 16, 22, 45, 47, 63, 80, 81, 83, 91, 
107-8, 113, 135-51, 176-7, 185, 190, 193, 
200-2, 215-16, 237-8; humanitarian 
intervention in, 70-2, 88, 199; post- 
Saddam, 166-8, 222; regime change in, xiii, 
22, 108, 135, 141, 143, 146, 147, 159, 168, 
201, 202, 210, 220-1; war in, 3, 5, 7, 15, 
18, 19, 21, 31, 35, 48, 51-2, 71, 79, 85, 86, 
87,93, 108, 115, 116, 125-7, 155-69, 180, 
182-3, 188, 189, 192, 200, 209, 212, 

Islamic world see Muslim world 

isolationism 77-8 

Israel 5, 16, 19, 20, 33, 40-1, 42, 46, 88, 91, 
102, 111, 113, 115, 124, 160, 162-6, 168, 

Israeli-Palestinian conflict 4, 23, 42, 87, 93, 

Italy 182 

Jackson, Henry 79 
Japan 35, 36, 176 
Jews 34, 39-40 
Jofle, Joseph 30 

Johnson. Lyndon 33 

Jordan 162, 213, 214, 216, 217. 219, 220, 222 
Jordan, Jim 1 44 

Kagan, Robert 176 

Kant, Immanuel 14, 61-2, 64, 66, 67-9, 72 

Karzai, Hamid 117, 120 

Kennedy, Justice Anthony M. xvi 

Khalizad, Zalmay 218 

Khan, Ismail 120 

Khomeini, Ayatollah 159 

Kirkpatrick, Jeane 31, 38, 41, 42, 57n 

Kissinger, Henry 41, 49, 50, 51, 61, 78, 79, 

Korea 105, 191, 226; North, 16, 107, 225, 239 
Korean War 80, 116 
Kosovo 21, 51, 70. 83, 106, 139. 158, 179-80, 

182, 193, 224, 225 
Krasner, Stephen 231 
Krauthammer, Charles 42, 47 
Kristol, William 147,211 
Kupchan, Charles 161 
Kurds 47, 88, 125, 126, 159, 167 
Kuwait 48, 62, 137 
Kyoto Protocol 43, 80, 115, 138, 189, 199, 


LassweU, Harold 194 

law: international, xiv, xvi, 2U2, 32, 63, 67, 
78. 82, 83, 84, 85, 92, 115-18, 125-6. 135, 
188-202, 219, 232, 235, 237; see also legal 

International Human Rights Law Group 10 

iniernalional leadership ofU.S. 4 
Iran 16, 47. 48, 88. 93, 107-8, 120, 159. 160, 
167, 168, 190, 220-1, 224 

left-wing in U.S. politics 30, 32, 37, 38-9, 194, 

legal culture: differences between U.S. and 

European, 188-202 
liberalism 36, 37, 38-40, 46, 78, 79, 93 
liberals 34, 36-7, 40, 41, 46, 50, 52, 70. 103, 


u 29 


libertarians 30 
Libya 190 
Likud 165, 166 
Lodge, Henry Cabot 32 
Luck, Edward C. 5 

McCain, John 233 
MiDnuual, Myres 194 
Malawi 1 1 7 
Malone, David 5 
Mann, James 148 
Manning, David 146 
M.iidt.. Ferdinand 87 
Marri, Ali Salch Kahlali al-. 1 
Marxism 38 
Mearsheimer,John51, 158 


Middle East 5, 18. 22-3. 40-1, 13, 18. 19. 51, 
52, 70, 88, 107. 113, 125, 139, 149, 150, 
159-60, 161-9, 201; U.S. foreign policy and 
the, 209-10, 212-17, 220-4 

Millennium Challenge Account 15, 17, 89-90, 

Millennium Declaration xvi 

Milosevic. Slobodan 47, 91, 124, 234 

moral agents: states as, 62, 64-7 

Moral Majority, the 36 

moral rights 14 

Moussa, Arm- 1 6 1 

M<i\ uili.iii. Patrick 

Mubarak, Hosni 87, 214, 216 

Mugabe, Robert 124 

iiiullilalcralism xvi, 5. 21, 22. 21, 63. 185, 192, 
195, 196, 200, 239; arguments for, xiii, 235; 
definition of, 12-13; global, 31; tactical, 
22-3, 24, 210-12; in U.S. foreign policy, 
xiii, 3, 10, 12, 15, 18-19, 22-3, 31-2, 35, 
78-9, 81, 84, 94, 135, 143, 156-7, 179, 188, 
193, 200, 214-20, 232-6 

Museveni, Yoweri 124 

Musharraf, General Pervez 63, 102, 121 

Muslim world 14-5, 162. 161, 167. 168, 169. 

National Security Strategy 48, 69, 85, 114, 

233, 234 
nationalism 36, 38, 12. 78, 81, 92: ultra-, 15, 

77, 80, 84, 
Native Americans 39 
neo-conservatives 12-13, 41-3, 47, 48-52, 150, 

161, 167, 209; project of, 44-6; rise of, 


Netanyahu, Binyami 

Netherlands, the 91, 182 

Neumann, Frederic 178 

new sovereigntists 10, 19 

new world order 138,232 

Nicaragua 42 

Nigeria 225, 237 

Nixon, Richard 33, 41, 77, 78, 79 

iiciiiiMiMiiimental organizations (NGOs) 7, 10, 

11, 12,35,87,92, 103, 194, 198 
non-intervention: principle of, 67 
normative implications of the war in Iraq 19. 

169, 156, 157-60, 169 
North America Free Trade Agreement 

(NAFTA) 198, 199 
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) 

20-1, 82, 83, 126,' 156^ 157, 158, 160, 162, 

174, 175, 179-80, 182, 183, 188, 193, 210, 

Norway 213 
Nuremberg Tribunal 82, 83, 201 

Optional Protocol to the Convention Against 

Torture 17, 122-3 
Organization for Sccurilv and Cooperation in 

Europe (OSCE) 86, 175, 183, 197 
Organization for the Prohibition of C lic-niic al 

Weapons 80 
Organization of American States (OAS) 86 
"others" 34, 35, 37 

Padilla,Jose 117-18 

Pakistan 16. 63, 93, 102, 107, 115, 121, 122, 

124, 222 
Palestine 5, 20, 40, 42, 102, 113, 160. 162 6. 

Panama 225 
Patrick, Stewart 211-12 
Patten, Chris 237 
peace building 106 
Pearl Harbor 35 
Perle, Richard 165,211 
Petersburg tasks 181, 182 
Pfaff, William 81 
populism 33-8 
Powell, Colin 18, 43, 51, 81, 135, 137, 142, 

146-9, 150, 163,211,215,219,222 
precedent 6 1 
pre-emptive military intervention 14, 21, 62, 

principles of action 62-4, 70-1 
Protestantism 34; see also Calvinism 
Public Citizen 198-9 
public support for a war in Iraq 135, 140-3, 

Putin, Vladimir 121 

Rabin, Yitzhak 213 

Rawls, John 66 

Reagan, Ronald 12, 41, 42, 52, 78, 80, 83, 

99-100, 114 
realism 14, 29, 46, 63, 64-5, 77-9, 83, 93, 

155, 156, 158, 177, 191-2, 194,226 
realist conservatives 12-13, 41-3, 47, 49, 

regime change xiii, 22, 108, 137, 141, 143, 

146, 147, 159, 167, 168, 201, 220, 236 
ReilT, David 1 1 
Reisman, Michael 193 
religiosity 36 
Republican Party 17, 31, 32, 33, 35, 37, 50, 79, 

90, 92, 93, 122, 140, 143-4, 150, 165 
Rice, Condoleezza 43, 47, 147, 148, 211 
Ridge, Tom 198 
right-wins; in U.S. politics 32. 33-8. 40, 43. 50, 

103, 194, 195 
"Road Map" for peace 20, 23, 102, 162-3, 

Robinson, Mary 5, 80, 234, 239 
Riiliiiiscui. Randall 5(>n 
rogue states 63, 239 
Rome Statute of the International Criminal 

Court 10, 15, 81-2, 85, 91; see also 

International Criminal Court 
Roosevelt. Eleanor xvi 
Roosevelt, Franklin D. 78, 89 
Roosevelt. Theodore 78 
Ross, Dennis 213 
Rumsfeld, Donald 47. 51, 120, 137, 147, 148, 

149, 150, 159, 160,211 
Russia 16, 23. 38, 90, 102, 105, 121-2, 124, 

140, 146, 158, 169, 176, 211, 215, 218. 219. 

225: see aha Soviet Union 
Rwanda 9, 10, 42. 47, 51, 70, 78, 82, 83, 85, 


Saddam Hussein 6, 1 1, 42, 45, 47, 48, 52, 62, 
70, 71, 78, 80, 88, 92, 107, 125-7, 135, 137, 
140-1, 144, 145, 147, 150, 159, 165, 202, 

sanctions 139, 140, 190, 191, 192, 199, 201 

Sartre, Jean-Paul 14, 61-2, 64, 66, 68, 72 

Saudi Arabia 45, 79, 88, 107-8. 115, 122, 159. 
162, 167, 168,214,216,217,219,222 

Schroeder, Gerhard lit) 

Scowcroft, Brent 49, 51 

security; redefinition of the concept of, 16, 

Sen, Amartya 89 

Senate 89, 90, 143,218 

September 1 1, 2001 xiii, xiv, xvi, 29, 43, 44, 
47, 80, 118, 138, 209, 232; post-, xv, xix, 3, 
4,5,6, 11, 15, 16, 17,46, 77-8,81-5,87, 
89-90, 93, 98-101, 103, 106-9, 1 13, 1 16, 

120, 122, 143, 149, 150, 169, 174, 183, 190, 

197, 199,200,217,220,223 
Serbia 47 
Sharon, Ariel 102, 162-3, 165, 166, 216, 

Shattuck, John xiv 
Sierra Leone 85, 127 
Slaughter, Anne-Marie 5 
social democrats 37, 38, 46, 50 
Solana, Javier 184, 214 
Somalia 8, 9, 31, 43, 57n, 70, 80, 106 
South Africa 40, 85, 105 
sovereignty 4, 35, 67-8, 94, 192, 194, 195, 

196-7, 201, 233; conceptualization of 7, 

9-11, 231; U.S. policy on. xix 5, 8, 15-16 
Soviet Union 38, 42, 63, 78, 90, 100, 101. 105, 

161, 174, 175-6, 179, 181 
special relationship 145 
strategic implications of the war in Iraq 19, 

155, 156, 169; global, 160-1; regional, 

'"stress and duress" interrogation i\me< liiii<|iie-; 

115, 119-20, 123. 124; "see also torture 
Student Nonviolence Coordination Committee 

(SNCC) 39 
Sudan 190, 225 
suicide bombings 45, 102 
superpower status of U.S. 4, 63, 79, 109, 

115-16, 158, 161, 190, 226, 232. 235. 23<> 
Sweden 182,213 
Syria 45, 107, 220-1, 224 

Taft, William, H. 121 

Taiwan 50 

Taliban xiv, 6, 45, 107, 117, 120, 121, 149, 

Taylor, Charles 124 

: definition of. 1 1; pathology of. 1 14. 

122: > 

terrorist suspects: treatment of, 1 16-20; see also 

Guantanamo detainees 
Thakui. Said R.unesli ill 
Tharoor, Shashi 2.36 
three-interest model of foreign policy 99 
Tiananmen massacre 100 
Tokyo Tribunal 82, 84 
torture 87, 101, 111, 119, 121, 122, 125 
Total Information Awareness Program xv 
trade relations: U.S.-European, 177-8, 183-4 
transatlantic relationship 20-1. 174-85, 

transatlantic security network 21, 175, 182-5 
Truman, Harry 33, 80 
Tunisia 124 
Turkey 164, 167, 180, 198, 219, 220 

Uganda 124 

unilateralism;), 21, 159. 185, 192-5; engaged, 
23, 212-14; global, 30-1; historical context 
of, 32-3; legal, 21, 188-202; popular, 19 in 

U.S. foreign policy xix, 3, 4, 10, 12, 14, 15, 

18, 19, 22-3, 31-3, 77-8, 81, 82, 84, 85, 91, 

93, 94, 98, 109, 156, 157-8, 160-1, 169, 

iiiiipubi world 100 
United Kingdom (U.K.) 33, 82, 85, 92, 140, 

159, 175, 182, 183, 195, 199; support for 

war in Iraq 18, 145-6, 198,235 
United Nations (U.N.;: future of, 5, 24, 224-6; 

George W. Bush's attitude to 135-51; 

reform of, 23, 224-6, 234-5 
United Nations Assistance Mission in 

Afghanistan (UNAMA) 218 
United Nations Charter 4, 7, 18, 22, 33. 35, 

67, 135, 139, 161, 192. 193, 195, 231, 233, 

I 'mini . \ alums Human Development Report xvi 
United Nations Education, Scientific, and 

Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 81 
United Nations High Commission for Refugees 

(UNHCR) 8 
United Nations International Children's 

Emergency Fund (UNICEF) 8 
United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and 

Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) 140, 

United Nations Security Council xix 18-19, 23, 

33, 48, 85, 115, 135-51, 158, 164, 168, 183, 

190, 192, 193, 200, 201, 217, 224, 232, 234, 

235; Resolution 242 213; Resolution 687 22, 

200-1, 202; Resolution 1373 xiv, 200; 

Resolution 1397 216; Resolution 1441 19, 141, 

142, 148, 218-19, 236; Resolution 1422 200; 

Resolution 1483 136, 149, 236 
Universal Declaration of Human Rights 7, 33. 

89, 114,231 
universalizability 62, 64, 66-7, 68 
Uribe, Alvaro 124 
U.S.A. Patriot Act xv, 3, 11, 116 
utilitarianism 36, 37 
Uzbekistan 15, 86-8, 115, 124 

van Boven, Theo 80 

Vietnam 105, war in, 37, 80, 1 16 

Walzer, Michael 67 

war crimes 82-5, 91, 119 

war on terrorism xiv, xv, xvi, xvii, 3, 5, 1 1, 12, 
16, 21, 29, 45, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 92, 93, 
98-109, 1 13-28, 136, 180, 197, 215, 218, 
223, 233; consequences for, 124-5 

weapons of mass destruction (WMD) 11, 18, 
19, 21, 44, 63, 70, 108. 126, 136, 137. 150, 
160, 168, 176, 180, 182, 184, 185, 190, 193, 
195, 219, 226, 235, 237, 238, 239 

Wedgwood, Ruth 193 

welfare rights 15, 77, 89-90, 92 

Western European Union (WEU) 181 

White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) 39 

Wilson, Woodrow 78 

Wohlforth, William 176 

Wolfowitz, Paul 47, 147, 149, 161,211 

Woodward, Bob 136, 142, 146, 147, 148, 149 

World Conference Against Racism 5-6, 10 

World Food Programme (WFP) 8 

World Health Organization (WHO) 8 

World Trade Organization (WTO) 49, 178, 
190, 197, 198, 199, 236 

world views: difference between U.S. and 
European, 185, 176-7; legal, 189 

World War I 32, 49, 231,233 

World War II 33, 35, 37, 38, 49, 62, 171, 231, 


r. Dawd It,., 

j. the limner. 9, 10. 47, f- 

Zaire 105, 218, 219 
Ze'evi, Rehavem 215 
Zimbabwe 115, 124